Tax day is finally over and done with. Now we can celebrate - and protect against identity theft - by shredding old papers to smithereens. We got the facts on paper shredding from Glenn Edelstein, vice president of All Shredding Corporation.
Is tearing up my bills before throwing them away enough?
There are a lot of people who spend their day rummaging through the garbage to find personal information, like Social Security numbers, account numbers, and credit card applications. Once you've had your identity stolen, it's really hard to fix all that.
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Junk mail isn't a problem, right?
Wrong. A lot of junk mail has bar codes stamped on it, and that can have personal information embedded in it. In the wrong person's hands it could really be abused. If it has your name on it, shred it.
So what are the differences between paper shredders?
There are two main types of shredders for consumers: strip-cut, which slices ribbons out of a sheet of paper, and cross-cut, which makes confetti by cutting both horizontally and vertically. Cross-cut shredders are more secure because someone could still go through a pile of strip-cut paper and tape the pieces back together. So shell out a few extra bucks for a cross-cut model and sleep a little better at night. Good shredders range from about $80-$100.
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Which shredder is best for home use?
Depending on how much you need to shred on a daily basis, the question comes down to whether you want a shredder that can handle one or multiple pages at a time. Considering that a piece of unopened junk mail contains an envelope plus a sheet or two of paper folded three times, that's eight sheets right there. The minimum shredder capacity I would recommend is 8 to 10 sheets.
What does it mean when it says a machine is to handle a set number of pages per day?
For consumer machines, that means you're overworking the shredder - if you use it more than the amount listed, it could overheat or be damaged. It's only a general guide of a machine's hardiness.
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Are there certain features to look for - or look out for?
In terms of safety features, the throat is hidden and some are childproof - kids can't turn them on accidentally. But if you have kids or pets in the house, it's best to unplug your shredder when you're not using it. Make sure the model you get is specifically rated to handle credit cards - same thing with personal CDs and DVDs, which you should destroy before throwing out.
Do you have everything on this list of what a house needs?
How do you protect yourself against identity theft?
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