We’ve all seen those ads. You know, the ones where some hapless person is sitting there looking forlorn and then suddenly becomes animated while channeling the voice of their identity thief. I’ll bet the first time you saw an ad like that you cracked a smile and thought to yourself, ‘that could never happen to me’. I’ll also wager that’s the exact thing all those victims of identity theft thought too … before it happened to them. That’s why you need to invest in something like a paper shredder to protect your identity.
No? You don’t need something to help with document destruction? Well, let’s take a look in that trash bag, shall we? There’s a phone bill with your number and address; a bank statement with your account number; a card from Aunt Rose with your birthday; and an official letter with your social security number. What do you think could happen if someone got their grubby little hands on all that personal information? Still think you don’t need a paper shredder?
Before you go running out to buy one though, you need to take a few things into consideration. All paper shredders are not created equally and they have varying levels of effectiveness when it comes to document destruction. You need to find a good balance between performance and price. Here’s a brief overview of the two main types of paper shredders:
As the name suggests, strip-cut paper shredders cut paper into neat, long strips. The thickness of the strips can vary from as little as 1/8 of an inch to as much as 1/2 an inch. Logically, it is better to strip the paper as thinly as possible for maximum security. These paper shredders are typically low maintenance and can handle a large amount of paper. Although difficult, it is possible for someone to piece those strips together enough to get some of your critical information.
Cross-cut paper shredders are quite good at document destruction since they slice paper both horizontally and vertically. It is very difficult to put the confetti-sized pieces back together and they compress better than long strips so there is less emptying involved. However, these paper shredders generally require more care, more maintenance and can be more expensive.
Whichever one you choose, remember that a very patient person can put together practically any shredded document. However, document destruction by means of paper shredders will greatly decrease the likelihood of anyone trying to steal your identity. I mean, would you prefer to rifle through someone’s trash and get intact documents or bags of seemingly worthless paper that would take forever to put together? Exactly. And that’s just what thieves are going to think too, especially when there are easier targets available. Invest in a paper shredder today. You won’t regret it.