Copy Machine Identity Theft
It Could Happen To You!

Copy machine identity theft can occur and you won’t even realize you have become a victim of identity theft.

Medical scams also include copy machine identity theft.

You probably don’t realize a copy machine can cause so much harm.

As of 2002, most copy machines made for libraries, copy centers and businesses are equipped with computer hard drives.

  • A few months ago, the health care provider Affinity Health Plan, sent over 400,000 New Yorkers a data breach notification.
  • The notification was prompted by a single office copy machine and not the normal criminal or hacker that breaks into a corporate computer system.

Go to medical scams and health insurance scams to learn more ways identity theft can affect you and make you the next victim of this devastating crime.

  • Whenever you print, scan, copy, send a fax and email from that copy machine, it stores and makes images of every document to the hard drive.
  • Unless the hard drive is replaced or erased, the images the machine copies, including the ones with Social Security numbers, personal information, medical files and bank information, stay stored inside the machine.

Unfortunately, the U.S. leases 90 percent of office copy machines.

When the lease time is up, the majority of the machines are exported, returned or resold without anyone doing anything to them such as erasing the hard drive of all personal information.

Up until this point, there is no actual evidence that proves identity theft has occurred or the thieves have used the information left in copy machines for criminal activity.

The fact is, the possibility of copy machine identity theft is huge.

Don’t use office copy machines for personal business. Keep yourself safe and don’t leave yourself open to becoming a victim of this crime.

  • CBS News bought numerous copiers from a warehouse that had been leased and returned.
  • One of those machines had been used by an Affinity Health Plan office and coughed up the medical records of nine people.
  • Affinity sent out a mass notice of the potential data breach, based on that machine and the use of many other hard drive-equipment copiers.
  • The machine also included the pay stubs, Social Security numbers and police records.

This last May the Federal Trade Commission said it was communicating with resellers, office supply stores and retail copy centers, and copier manufacturers to make sure they were aware of privacy risks and the potential dangers to the people that had used these machines for personal use.

Many manufacturers have acted on this already. Since 2007, the copiers made have been installed with built-in technology and allows encrypting or erasing of the hard drive.

Unfortunately, a huge number of machines made from 2003 to 2007 are still in use all across the country.

One of these machines could very well be in your copy center, doctor’s office or library.

Protect Yourself From Copy Machine Identity Theft

  • If you find it impossible to use anything but a public copy machine, find out how the users information is protected from the people that oversee the copier.

Inquiries raise awareness of the problems that can arise and will encourage the erasing of the machines drive.

  • If you must use a copy machine, try to use a home printer that has the copy function especially when you copy sensitive documents.

This will definitely put a crimp in a thief with identity theft on his mind.

  • Home printers generating 20 or fewer pages per minute have no hard drives.
  • Owned copy machines are less likely to reach scammers or to be resold, so make sure you ask if the machine is leased or owned.

Copy machine identity theft can leave you vulnerable to identity theft, medical id theft and so many other types of identity theft. Take the proper steps and become knowledgeable to protect yourself from this devastating crime.

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