Paper Shredders for Home Use is a Necessity – Read on why:
False identity fraud is one of the fastest-growing fraud types in the world. And, believe it or not, you may help a thief steal your identity every time you throw a document in the garbage without destroying it first.
Now, you don’t have to burn every piece of paper to protect yourself from identity thieves; that’s a bit extreme. You can, however, use a paper shredder to completely destroy all kinds of documents – especially financial documents and medical bills. Many shredders designed for home use can also shred credit cards and optical discs.
Can a Paper Shredder Protect You From Identity Theft?
The simple answer is “Yes, it can.” However, there is no such thing as best identity theft protection. To successfully protect against this type of fraud, you should take an entire set of measures:
- Protect your information online at all times! You can shred every piece of paper in your house and still fall victim to identity theft if you don’t guard your information on the Web – beware of phishing scams.
- Check your bank accounts frequently and look for any signs of trouble. Although you may incur some small initial loss, you can quickly notify your bank and prevent further loss.
- Check your credit report regularly. If you don’t recognize some of the bank accounts or credit cards in the report, you may have fallen victim to identity theft.
- And, of course, shred anything that may contain personal information. These documents include financial statements, medical bills, credit card receipts, savings account statements, phone and utility bills, paycheck stubs, etc.
What Can Happen if You Don’t Destroy Documents
If you throw away documents that contain sensitive information about you or your family members without destroying them first, they may get in the hands of thieves. Identity thieves have no problem going through your trash bin in hopes of finding sensitive documents or expired credit cards.
If a thief obtains enough information about you, he can create a fake ID and then use it to open bank accounts in your name. He can then use the unauthorized credit cards to purchase things off the Internet. Worse, if the thief gets his hands on an expired credit or debit card, he could retrieve the information from its magnetic strip and then create a card that can withdraw money from ATM machines.
Blackmail is another thing you might want to consider. If you, or one of your loved ones, have a condition or suffer from an illness and the thief learns about it from improperly discarded medical bills or receipts, you may be in trouble. You can be blackmailed on a regular basis. And even if you give in to blackmail, you have no guarantees that the blackmailer won’t make the information public at some point in time. Paper shredders for home use are the best way to protect yourself from this kind of problem.
Are Home Paper Shredders Large or Expensive?
The answer to both questions is “No.”
Nowadays, paper shredders for home use are relatively cheap – you can get a good shredder for as little as 40 euros. If you’re willing to spend $90-120, you can get a paper shredder that can destroy CDs, DVDs and credit cards.
You may ask yourself, “Why would I want to destroy optical discs?” The answer is simple: they may contain a lot of information about you or your loved ones. Expired credit cards can’t be used by thieves at ATM machines to withdraw money, but the information stored on their magnetic strips can be copied and used.
If you’re worried about space, you should know that many small home paper shredders have a height and width of around 40 centimeters. Some are even smaller than your typical trash can. You can put the paper shredder anywhere in your house, as long as you can access it easily and there is a power outlet nearby. To ensure you never forget to use the home shredder, it’s a good idea to place it near the cabinet where you store important documents.
And, of course, you can have more than one shredder in your home.
Choosing the Right Shredder for Home Use. What Is the Cut Size?
There are hundreds of paper shredder models on the market today, so you might have a difficult time picking the perfect shredder for your needs. Furthermore, expensive shredders are not necessarily better than cheaper ones.
What you are interested in when looking for a shredder for home use is the cut size.
- Some shredders cut the paper in narrow strips that are as long as the original piece of paper – these are strip cut shredders. A typical strip cut shredder cuts an A4 sheet in around 40 pieces. As you can imagine, reconstructing the original document is not difficult at all, so this type of home shredder is the least secure.
- Cross cut shredders for home cut the paper both vertically and diagonally. This type of shredder creates around 300 pieces from an A4 sheet. Rebuilding the original document from so many pieces is extremely difficult and time-consuming.
- Micro cut shredders provide a very high level of security. This type of shredder creates more than 3700 particles from a single A4 sheet. Reconstructing the original document or recovering any kind of sensitive information from so many pieces is near impossible.
- High-security shredders are approved by the government for destroying classified documents. This type of shredder is quite expensive and not generally used at home. It is capable of cutting an A4 sheet into over 15000 pieces. There is absolutely nothing anyone can recover from so many pieces.
Another thing to consider is the maximum run time of the shredder and its protections. Nowadays, even the cheapest shredders for home use can shred paper continuously for over half an hour. Most of them can also shred at least 3 sheets of paper simultaneously. This is enough for the majority of homeowners who are looking to shred at most several documents in an entire day.
Even though a home shredder may provide the best identity theft protection, it must also protect your children and pets. Most modern shredders start automatically only when they detect a piece of paper; furthermore, the blades are usually located far enough to prevent fingers from reaching them.
For peace of mind, we recommend unplugging the home shredder when you don’t use it.
If you have any comments or questions about paper shredders for home use leave them below.