6 ways to destroy sensitive papers.
You can never be to careful.
Everyone ends up with documents that they would like to get rid of, but would rather not have fall into the wrong hands. Papers such as junk mail, bank statements, credit card bills, utility bills, insurance documents, school papers, and newsletters are at high risk for identity theft, so how should you handle them? If you don't want to become a hoarder, and don't want someone to hijack your credit, you may need to consider taking one of the following steps.
- Shredding: I strongly recommend buying a cross-cut shredder, it destroys your information beyond recognition. Shredders can be purchased at most big box stores and office supply stores. Watch for shredders at yard sales and flea markets, they can often be purchased at a reasonable price (be sure to plug it in to verify it works). You may also consider ordering one online, especially for commercial/industrial uses.Keep in mind the volume of papers that you need to dispose of, shredders generally have a page count that rates how many pages they can shred at once, the more the better. If you feed too many pages through the shredder at once it can seize up, with the possibility of burning up the motor.
- Incineration: Burn it! This as simple as a backyard campfire, fireplace, or a wood furnace. Please use sound judgement when dealing with fire. Remember to burn the papers, and not you, your home, your neighbors home, the dog, you get the idea.
- Worm Compost: If you are into “green” alternatives, this one maybe for you. Cut your documents into strips, and mix it in with your worm bedding. Red worms are wonderful composters, and will eventually break the papers down. This approach would probably not be appropriate if you have a large quantity to dispose of on a regular basis.
- Marker: Mark out any and all personal information using a dark (preferably black) marker. I don't recommend this method, but it may be useful on a small scale, or if you're in a pinch.
- Tear/cut it up: This bears the same concept of shredding the papers, but you are doing it manually. Tear it up, cut it up, throw the pieces away separately. Not the most efficient, but may be useful on a small scale.
- Professional Disposal: With the heightened concerns of privacy, identity theft, and all sorts of “espionage” document disposal has become a big business. If you have a large volume of documents to dispose of this may be your best option.
Don't fool yourself.
Identity theft is a major concern foreveryonein today's society. Don't allow yourself to be caught off guard by a “it won't happen to me” attitude. Your identity, privacy and future are worth protecting. Take the time to dispose of your documents responsibly, it's not worth the risk.