How Your Fax Machine Is Putting You At Risk for Identity Theft

Throwing away an older fax machine could put your information at risk.

Despite the advancements in technology communication, the fax machine is still a tried and true device that many types of businesses use.  The technology itself has always been rather simple: facsimile machines send and receive information, but how the technology works has evolved.  Depending on the type of fax you use, the information you share could actually be stored on the device itself, and for that reason fax machines need to be treated with the utmost of care when it’s time for disposal.

The Fax Machine Evolved

Legacy fax machines relied on a phone line to send and receive information.  Risks for this type of faxing depended on who picked up the fax at the receiving end.  Today, fax machines are part of a line of equipment that serve multiple functions: they scan, copy, and are able to transmit faxes digitally, meaning that data is often stored on the device itself.

Modern fax machines have hard drives that retain a copy of every fax received, scanned, or printed.  For this reason, if your agency sells your fax/copier machine or the lease on it ends, it is important that you retain the hard drive and destroy it.  Otherwise, all the sensitive documents you’ve ever received, printed, or scanned could be available to the new owner of your fax/copier machine simply by pulling it from the memory.  The same goes for those machines that you wish to dispose of: once it ends up curbside, it is considered public and anyone can take the information from it with no legal ramifications suffered by the taker.  You, however, as the owner are susceptible to data destruction laws, and should any client or employee information be compromised, you will pay for it legally.

How You Should Dispose of That Old Machine

If you have a fax machine that still uses a thermal print cartridge roll, it is storing an image of every single fax page you’ve received. You could be giving out sensitive information to prying eyes without realizing it when it’s time to dispose of it.

If you’re getting rid of a fax machine it’s probably because the fax is either broken or too outmoded. Modern machines likely have hard drive capabilities, therefore you must take the physical precautions.

Like hard drive and computer destruction, fax machines should be destroyed in the same manner.  Professional shredders can safely and security destroy the on-board hard drives of fax machines, rendering it completely useless and irreparable to would-be thieves.  What’s more, a media destruction service such as fax machine shredding ensures that materials are recycled, keeping toxic elements and materials out of the environment.

If you’re looking to ditch your old fax machine, call Legal Shred to destroy it properly so that you maintain compliance and keep unwanted chemicals out of landfills.

For other media destruction services, contact us today.

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