Proper Disposal of Confidential Information


Guest Post Courtesy of Leigh Clack with Neel & Robinson, Attorneys at Law

Georgia’s law called the Record Disposal Act (OCGA 10-15-1) requires businesses to properly dispose of confidential customer information, including social security numbers and account numbers, in order to prevent identify theft.

Realtors, lenders, and closing attorneys need to be sure to comply with this law.  The fines for violations of the law can go up to $10,000.

Proper disposal is by shredding paperwork or by deleting (remove or mark out completely) all confidential information from any documents or computers that can be accessed by anyone else.

Listing Agents:  safeguard the payoff information and social security numbers for your sellers, plus any other financial data provided as part of a short sale.

Selling Agents:  protect any financial data provided by your buyers to be used for loan approval or information given to provide proof of funds for a cash purchase.

Lenders:  almost all information provided by your borrowers must be kept secure, including income tax returns.

Closing Attorneys:  pre-closing work and closing documents, especially those containing account numbers and social security numbers, must be kept confidential.

*Reminders to Your Clients:
Remove social security numbers from identification cards, driver’s licenses, and checks.
Social security numbers should not be reflected on any recorded documents from a closing.
IRS liens now include just the last four digits.
Unfortunately, older recorded documents show some social security numbers.

Be aware that death certificates are public records, and show the full social security number (and cause of death) of the deceased.  Make sure that this confidential information is deleted if a death certificate is being placed in the real estate records.

Neel & Robinson, Attorneys at Law, LLC
Leigh Clack

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