While many commercials on TV tout the benefits of joining a monthly subscription based service to monitor your credit and protect your confidential information from thieves; that is not always the best way to guard against identity theft. It is true that catching a security breach early on your credit report or bank statement can help limit the damage but the problem is that once this occurs, someone has already stolen your identity.

Why You Should Consider Buying a Shredder Today

Protecting yourself needs to start at home and one of the most effective steps you can take right away is to get a document shredder to dispose of material that contain any personally identifiable information that could be valuable to someone wanting to steal your identity or financial information.

Although the media conditions us to think that our online activities present the greatest risk for identity theft, it is actually your garbage can that makes the easiest and most attractive target for identity thieves. If you don't already own a good paper shredder, you should buy one immediately and start making it a habit to shred any mail, bank statements, pre-approved credit card offers, or paid bills before you throw them away.

Putting it to Good Use

It is a good habit for you or whoever handles the finances in your household to use a shredder on any document that has personally identifiable information before disposal.

It is also important to teach your children as well so they can develop good practices at an early age and avoid accidentally putting your family finances at risk. In our house, I even bought shredders for my two high school age children. Not only does it help teach them how important it is to guard their financial information; it also helps to cut down on the amount of clutter that builds up around the house.

Which Kind is Best?

A cross-cut shredder will make it nearly impossible for anyone to reconstruct the document and piece together anything of any value. While they are usually slightly more expensive than the strip cut models, their performance is far superior. Not only will a cross-cut machine offer better security, it will also do a better job of handling large volumes of paper.

Buyer's Guide and Product Recommendations

There are plenty of good products on the market and with a little effort, you can find a dependable shredder for under $60. If you have kids in the house, look for a shredder with auto shut off features when the basket is open to prevent accidents. It is also a good idea to find one with a reverse feature so you can use the shredder itself to get rid of any paper jams that may occur instead of having to try to pull them out by hand.

My personal favorite is a shredder made by Fellowes that is available for about $60. I believe they call it the Powershred Cross-cut shredder. I've had it for several years now and it does a wonderful job. They also offer an upgraded model called the Intellishred which has added safety features and a new jam proof technology that offers a colored indicator light to let you know when you are approaching capacity. This unit is a little more expensive but it is a tremendous value for the money if you want a reliable and hassle free way to protect your confidential information around the house.

Enjoying Peace of Mind

When you decide to buy a paper shredder, the return on investment in terms of security and clutter control are priceless. Start by comparing products and features, then look at other perks such as warranties and service plans. For less than what it would cost to subscribe to a credit monitoring company for 6 months, you can make a one-time investment that will lower your chances of ever having to deal with the problem of having to piece you life back together after someone ruins your credit and drains your bank account. In my opinion, this is one of the best small appliances you can have around the house.