Why buy a paper shredder?
According to the Federal Trade Association (FTA), an estimated 9 million Americans have their identities stolen every year. With the holidays around the corner, it's more important than ever to protect your personal and financial information. Identity thieves still rely on the most common and cheapest way to steal your information - digging through your trash and grabbing papers such as old credit card statements, expired credit cards, bills, check stubs, pay stubs, and even something as innocuous as a birthday card. Even with today's threat of fraud happening at an alarming rate, many people still throw away their old documents without thinking twice.
Credit card offers increase dramatically around the holidays, as these institutions hope to gain more profit by tempting people with preapproved credit limits. Such applications are rampant at this time, and thieves know this. If your identity and information gets stolen, the thief can use it to make an exorbitant amount of orders online, and have them shipped to their address instead of theirs.
Take the proper steps to protect yourself, your identity and your finances - not just around the holidays, but all year around. What is the easiest way to do so? Simply invest in a quality paper shredder. Not enough consumers do the proper research to find the best paper shredder for their needs. While it's common for businesses and corporations to use shredders, every home should have one. A small investment now will pay off in huge dividends when you realize you've cut the easiest rope thieves can climb to find out who you are.
First, you'll need to determine what a thief would need to steal your identity. Here's a condensed list:
• Your name
• Mailing/billing address
• Date of birth
• Mother's maiden name
• Social security number
• Account numbers (bank, credit card, etc)
• PIN numbers and passwords
As you may have guessed, your social security number is target number one - the skeleton key to your identity and who you are on paper. You'll want to make absolutely sure any document that reveals your social security number, even partly, is completely destroyed.
How do you find the best shredder for the highest security possible?
Paper shredders come in three shred types - strip-cut, cross-cut and micro-cut. Strip-cut shredders do just that - they cut paper into strips, and are the most commonly found because of their economic value. However, leaving your documents in even sized strips are not enough. A patient thief will simply put the pieces together and use it to find your account numbers, or use the "junk mail" for yet another preapproved credit card offer to get one made and sent directly to their door. You'll want something much more intricate. Cross-cut shredders cut your documents into crisscross, diagonal pieces, and make it impossible to piece back together. Micro-cut shredders cut the pieces even smaller and are most often used for highly sensitive data in hospitals and government offices. A cross-cut or micro-cut shredder is the best choice for anyone to use at home.
There are shredders that allow you to shred multiple papers at once, and even with blades that can safely cut credit cards and CDs. Investing in a shredder that does all three is ideal, since it'll effortlessly cover old statements, old, expired credit cards, or CDs that might have incriminating information. Very few, if any thieves will spend the time it'd take to put together several hundred pieces of a document when they could just move on to an easier target. Make life difficult for them, and ensure the padlock is on yours.