Well this question may not be about computers, but it most definitely is about information security, so I'll give it a try...
I've been repeatedly told in my life that I should always carefully check each piece of paper for any piece of personal information it might carry before throwing it away. This includes bank reports, bills, pen&paper notes about other peoples' telephone numbers with their name and surname, and even my old tests from school that contain my name and surname and the oh-so-very-important information that I scored the grade of 4 for being able to simplify three polynomials but failing to simplify the fourth one.
I tried to follow that advice, but the longer I think about it, I'm curious what the exact risks are? Let's break this by case:
- a bank report should clearly not be seen by any untrusted individuals;
- a telephone numer or an e-mail address can be sold to spammers, but let's face it, they likely have it anyway
- I can't imagine how could anyone abuse the information that some no-name scored a 4 in one of their many school tests?
Even more importantly, how would any ill intentioned individual get all of this information? They would either have to search the recycle container or work in the recycling station. I don't know the facts so I cannot judge, but I find it hard to believe that crooks hire bums who walk from street to street searching bins and containers for any piece of personal information they might find? That some ill intentioned peaople might get themselves hired by a recyclicling station for this purpose seems a little bit more probable to me, but then again, don't crooks have a quadrillion of better ways to obtain some personal information they may seek?
What are the risks of throwing a piece of paper with some personal information to a public recycle bin or container without destroying that piece of personal information first and how can this be exploited?