Security Shredding is Vital to Protect You From Identity Theft
Security shredding must be carried out on all of your personal documents that are no longer required, to protect you from the increasing risk of identity theft. All personal documents still in use should be stored securely, preferably in a security safe that is also fire rated.
reported in UK in 2001,
many more cases went unreported
Identity theft is now one of the fastest growing crimes in the USA and is in fact growing throughout the world, and can happen to anyone. Security shredding of all personal documents will reduce your chance of becoming a victim of this increasing threat. Thieves get the information they need from credit cards, receipts, social security numbers, drivers licenses, passports, computers, in fact anywhere where this personal information is stored or discarded. They then use this information to obtain drivers licenses, passports, credit cards etc., in your name. Innocent people have had their credit records ruined, their driving records ruined, large bills run up on their accounts and their personal possessions taken over.
Imagine the nightmare of waking up one day and finding that even crimes have been committed in your name.
The stress, the paperwork, the clearing of your name and the sleepless nights often take a bigger toll than even the debt. Identity theft is not yet a crime under current UK law.
Many of us don’t think of the possible consequences when we throw out old documents, which although old may still contain: social security numbers, date of birth, mothers maiden name, credit card numbers, bank account/statement details, credit card receipts, account numbers with regular suppliers etc., which are all useful in proving an identity. Criminals are even prepared to search through your rubbish to find this type of information. Security shredding makes life extremely difficult if not impossible for these low life.
Be aware of this becoming even more widespread in the UK and safeguard anything with this type of information stored on it as far as is reasonably possible or shred it. This could happen to any of us anywhere, at almost any time. As one example, look through your wallet or purse now and see how much information about you is in them, that a thief could use to successfully pretend that they are you. Frightening isn’t it?
Although you can’t stop this from happening to you with 100% certainty, you can reduce the opportunities and the consequences:
If possible shred all papers that contain personal information that you no longer need, or alternatively, cut, tear or burn them. Personal security shredders are now readily available at minimal cost – especially when this cost is compared to the cost of someone stealing your identity.
There are many types of security shredder available, depending on the usage and degree of security required. For home use, the inexpensive machines that cut the documents into unreadable strips and are designed to shred up to 5 sheets at a time and have a usage rate of 10 to 20 shredding cycles per day should be adequate. These ratings are normally based on 70gsm paper and will be reduced if heavier paper is used.
For greater security, cross cut machines are available that shred the documents into smaller unreadable pieces, instead of strips. These machines are considerably more expensive.
For business environments, cross cut machines with a much higher duty cycle should be used. Many of these machines are also able to cope with paper clips and staples without any adverse effects, due to their heavy duty motors and cutters