to shred or not to shred?

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The Sterling Creations team


Contributed by Dan thompson
to shred or not to shred?

Can someone legally dig through your trash looking for tasty credit card
receipts, account numbers, or even your Social Security number? In the
decision California vs. Greenwood, the U.S. Supreme Court stated that the
“expectation of privacy in
trash left for collection in an area accessible to the public… is
In other words, when you throw something in your trash and then drag that
container to the street for pickup, it is available to anyone willing to
overlook the disgusting
smells and textures of your trash can or dumpster.
Think that doesn’t happen? Well, think again. It has, it does and sadly, it
In 2015, more than 13 million people fell victim to identity theft felonies
in the U.S.
Identity fraud is a serious issue as this band of thieves have stollen $112
billion in the past six years. That equals $35,600 stolen per minute, or
enough to pay for four
years of college every four minutes.
Some of these victims could have prevented this from happening by simply
shredding their uniquely identifying documents.
If you do not know how to effectively shred your most important documents,
time to learn.
The rule of thumb is to shred any paper or document that contains personally
identifying information such as your signature, name, address, phone number,
Social Security
number, account numbers and any other information that is uniquely yours.
That means anything and everything from the address labels on junk mail and
magazines to luggage
tags, pay stubs, ATM recipes and airline tickets; photocopies of birth
certificates and expired passports to tax returns older than three years.
When in doubt, always err on
the side of shredding.
As difficult as it is for me to imagine, some shredded documents can be
reconstructed through painstakingly tedious work by motivated identity
thieves with pressure-sensitive tape. If the “shreds” a machine produces are
fairly large strips, that
becomes yet another potential hazard to your identity. That makes the idea
of just tearing up your documents before you put them into the trash a total
waste of
time. Even a child could put them back together.
Generally, paper shredders range in size and price from a small and
inexpensive unit designed for a certain amount of pages, to large units used
by commercial shredding
services. Shredders also vary in the way that they cut or shred paper.
Strip-cut shredders are the least secure, using rotation knives to cut
narrow strips as long as the original sheet of paper. These strips can be
reassembled, making a strip-
cut shredder the least secure.
Cross-cut shredders use two contra-rotating drums to cut rectangular,
parallelograph or diamond-shaped shreds. Much better, because the shreds are
much smaller pieces which makes it unreasonable if not impossible to
Micro-cut shredders create tiny square or circular pieces. Even better
because these debris cannot be reassembled.
If you do not have a paper shredder you need to look into getting one. This
is something you need now and into the future. The need will not go away
until you do. That means
you want a quality shredder that performs well, can handle more than a
couple of pages at a time and is convenient to empty.
Amazon has come out with its own AmazonBasics brand of excellent home
shredders, three of which are my picks for the best inexpensive home
dependent of course on what your budget can bear.
AmazonBasics 6-Sheet Cross-Cut Paper and Credit Card Shredder. This is a
nice machine that can run for up to two minutes before needing to cool down
for 30 minutes. It has a
6-sheet capacity and also shreds plastic credit cards (one at a time). Comes
with small trash can on which it sits. To empty, one must lift the shredder
off the trash can.
About $25.
AmazonBasics 8-Sheet High-Security Micro-Cut Paper, CD and Credit Card
Shredder. While this model produces tiny, almost confetti-like shreds and
operates for up to 2 minutes before needing a 40-minute cool down it handles
33% more
paper per pass, making it more efficient. It too will shred one credit card
at a time, but also CDs. The pull out basket is very easy to About $45.
Amazon Basics 24-Sheet Cross-Cut Paper, CD and Credit-Card Shredder.
This is the heavy-duty, industrial strength home shredder in that it will
shred up to 24 sheets at a time, can run for up to 25 minutes before needing
to cool down. This is a
great machine and well worth the price. About $125.
Shredding, while mandatory for the paper in your life, doesn’t address at
all your private information in the hands of merchants, service providers
and social
media. That’s where LifeLock Identity Theft Protection comes along side to
protect you. For more info on LifeLock, take a look at this post.
” A Startling Red-Hot Alert Made My Day”

A Startling Red-Hot Alert Made My Day

Author: Mary Hunt’s Everyday Cheapskate blog,

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