In the event of a natural disaster such as a flood, our homes and businesses suddenly become threatened with total loss and devastation. Lives are turned upside down, and the key to getting back on your feet during the aftermath is the ability to salvage as much as possible. In such situations, it’s critical to preserve flood damaged documents that contain the details of your financial identity; not only will you need these for your own use, but you also don’t want them to be discovered by looters in the event of a disaster.
For this reason, document scanning has become an important recovery tool in recent years. By scanning these critical documents and storing the digital files offsite – on a cloud server located in a different state, for example – you can preserve the essentials of your personal or business identity.
What to Safeguard
Some documents are so critical that you’ll want to safeguard the originals as much as possible in addition to duplicating them through document scanning. These include:
- Birth and death certificates
- Last 3 years’ worth of tax records and W-2s
- Business and personal contracts
For many other important documents, a digital copy may be all you need; often the originals can be shredded once the document scanning is complete. Examples include paperwork associated with mortgage loans and medical records, as the sensitive information within them should never be released for public view.
What to Destroy
Individuals and companies also tend to save many other types of documents that simply aren’t necessary – these should be shredded to prevent them from falling into the wrong hands. Old credit card statements, for example, don’t need to be scanned or saved, as any transaction inquiries can be conducted by calling the credit card company’s toll-free phone number. By shredding these now, you can prevent a stranger from using your flood damaged documents to steal your identity.
Once you’ve enlisted a document scanning service to back up your essential files and destroy non-essential documents containing sensitive information, you can rest easily knowing that your flood damaged documents will still be there when you need them – and won’t be used against you by an identity thief.
[ Photo by: Valerie's Genealogy Photos, via CC License ]