Have you ever gone to the local copy shop or office supply store to make photo copies? Do you copy sensitive documents at work? Do you think your insurance company has ever copied your medical information? Now, maybe the question is when was the last time you used a copier. And when you did were you even thinking about identity theft.

Nearly every digital photo copier manufactured since 2002 includes a digital hard drive to save information that is scanned, copied or emailed. Most of us have made photo copies at the local copy shops. Tax records, birth certificates, bank records, and so much more. We copy, we pay and we head out on our way. Giving no thought to the fact that every copy we made was saved to a hard drive on that machine. No thinking that our information could potentially be at risk.

The above video by CBS news Armen Keteyian exposes the security risk that is often over looked not just by each of us but by major companies and government agencies. Most offices use copiers with a hard drive, and often they are leased and returned after just a few years.

5 things you can do to protect your personal information

1. Buy a copier for your home if you often need to copy sensitive information.

2. Scan your information into a computer that has security precautions you can put on the documents.

3. Check with your local copy shop to determine if they use encryption or security kits to ensure that scanned documents are no permanently stored to the hard disk.

4. Share this information with people within your company so they can take steps to protect sensitive information for the company, its employees and customers.

5. Ask questions – if you have to give your photo ID or other sensitive information to a business or government agency ask what practices are in place protecting your identity.

If you believe you may have been a victim of identity theft, contact your local police and the Federal Trade Commission.

How do you protect your identity? Share your tips!