Paper Shredders and Identity Theft

Identity theft is a serious and growing problem. Identity theft is when information about you, such as your name, bank account number, credit card number, etc... is stolen and used to create credit cards or other documents in your name, which can then be used to rack up debts.Fellowes Paper Shredder

The FTC says that almost 9 million US citizens fall victims to identity theft every year. In order to protect yourself or your business against identity theft paper shredders are an essential part of any office and equally of any home. A paper shredder is a device which cuts paper into strips or fine particles. It is recommended that you shred any bills, tax documents, credit card statements, and bank statements, before you put them out in the trash. The reasons for this are that there are people who engage in so-called dumpster diving to get credit card details, bank details, tax information etc... but also the trash can quite often find itself shipped abroad to third-world countries where people can pick it up from landfill sites.

You can of course burn your documents, or shred them to a resonable degree by hand but if you have large amounts of paper then hand shredding or burning is not really an option. Consequently paper shredding is the best option. Nowadays paper shredders are not particularly expensive. You can buy crosscut paper shredders (that will also shred CDs, DVDs and paper clips etc...) for around $180. You can also get cheaper shredders suitable for the home or a small office for around $50.

Some shredders will cut paper into strips, some will cut it into small confetti, there are also industrial paper shredders, heavy duty paper shredders, and high-security shredders.


Each year a number of people, particularly children, have accidents with paper shredders, a shredder is not just another office machine like a scanner. It has dangerous moving parts and fingers have been known to be lost in them. Shredder manufacturers have therefore designed special safety features such as sensors to switch the machine off if they detect fingers close to the paper entry, narrower paper entries, safety locks, safety flaps to cover the cutters, and safety interlock switches. So check these out when buying a shredder,

What sort of paper shredder do you need ?

Probably a crosscut shredder as they do a more effective job than plain strip shredders. Also, one final tip, get shredder that does more than what you think you will need. Paper shredders have a capacity rating, but these ratings tend to be rather optimistic. If a shredder is said to handle ten sheets of paper then it probably only does half that number. So go for a shredder that seems more powerful than what you need.