7 Mistakes Lawyers Make That Could Put Your Confidential Information Into The Hands of Identity Thieves
Richard Fonfrias, J.D.
Chicago’s Financial Rescue & Bankruptcy Lawyer
Fonfrias Law Group, LLC
In each of the following mistakes, ask yourself whether you think a receptionist, delivery person, or cleaning crew could get their hands on your confidential legal documents. I think you’ll agree that any one of these mistakes could result in your Social Security Number and other secret information falling into the hands of someone who might steal your identity. Identity thief can cause serious financial problems for anyone who is unlucky enough to have their identity stolen. By using your identity, a thief could secure loans, open up a line of credit, and apply for credit cards – all in your name. An identity thief could drain your bank account and max out your credit cards. Identity theft can ruin your credit rating, put you into serious debt and perhaps even personal bankruptcy or home foreclosure. As a victim of identity theft, you could find yourself needing the services of an experienced money lawyer for financial rescue to help with creditors and repair your credit rating.
MISTAKE #1: Failing to keep your confidential documents in a locked file cabinet except when the lawyer is working on your case.
MISTAKE #2: Making too many copies of your confidential documents — and then failing to keep track of all the copies.
MISTAKE #3: Throwing your confidential documents into the trash can when your case is finished.
MISTAKE #4: Stacking your confidential file on an exposed bookshelf or in a non-locking cabinet after your case is over.
MISTAKE #5: Handing your confidential information to a receptionist and asking her to dispose of your secret documents.
MISTAKE #6: Sending your confidential documents to an outside company’s shredding service for disposal.
MISTAKE #7: Returning your confidential documents to you by regular mail.
6 Critical Steps Every Lawyer Should Take to Protect Your Confidential Information
CRITICAL STEP #1: The lawyer should always keep your confidential information locked in a file cabinet except when the lawyer is actually working on your case.
CRITICAL STEP #2: The lawyer should make the fewest possible copies of your documents — and then make sure he knows exactly where those copies are at all times.
CRITICAL STEP #3: The lawyer should never put documents that contain your sensitive information into the trash.
CRITICAL STEP #4: The lawyer should never ask a receptionist or secretary to dispose of your confidential documents.
CRITICAL STEP #5: The lawyer should never send your confidential documents to an outside shredding service. The lawyer should shred your documents himself.
CRITICAL STEP #6: If you want your confidential documents returned to you, the lawyer should send them to you by Certified Mail or Expedited Delivery.
My 5 Promises to You: How I Protect Your Confidential Information
PROMISE #1: I always keep your confidential information in a locked file cabinet, except when I’m working on your case.
PROMISE #2: I make copies of your documents for my own use, then give your originals back to you.
PROMISE #3: I never put any documents containing your confidential information into the trash.
PROMISE #4: When your case has ended, I shred all of your documents myself. I do not give your documents to someone else to shred, nor do I send your documents to an outside shredding service.
PROMISE #5: If you want your documents returned, I send them to you by Certified Mail or by Federal Express.