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As of June 1, the Fair and Accurate Credit Transactions Act requires companies to destroy employees' personal information. Companies could face federal fines up to $2,500 and state fines up to $1,000 per violation.

The reasoning behind this law: identity theft, which caused headaches for an estimated 7 million Americans in 2003 alone. Under the new FACTA provision, employers could also pay an employee up to $1,000 in statutory damages on top of state and federal fines if his or her identity is actually stolen.

FACTA shows that the federal government "is waking up" to identity theft prevention, says Robert Johnson, executive director of the National Association for Information Destruction, a Phoenix trade group representing 600 shredding companies.

Creating destruction policies for personal documentation is a good idea. Georgia already requires destroying all personal information headed for the trash. Johnson says, "Eventually, there will be a law that makes it illegal to put anyone's personal information in the garbage without destroying it."

Edition: May 2017

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