Do you value your privacy? What if I told you that a identity thief or an investigator can learn everything about you through your trash.
Lets pretend that a thief or an private investigator has been going through your trash for the last 120 days or so. What would they find out about you? Trash is a great tool for the investigator and the professional identity thief. Did you know that trash put out by the curb is considered abandoned property and I and everyone else has the right to take it.
The professional will find out when you put out your trash and what kind of bag you use. He will either come by in the middle of the night and switch bags with generic trash he has put together himself or steal some trash from a person a block or so away and put it in your bin as he takes yours. Your neighbor might get a little paranoid but you wouldn't. Or he can take it out of your bin and leave and go through it and put it back when he is done. The point is you will never know your trash has been gone through!
So what will identify thieves or private investigators be looking for? Anything they can learn about you! They will be looking for where you shop, what you buy, your bills, credit card statements, paychecks or money order stubs, empty medicine bottles - maybe even with your doctors name on them, scraps of paper with any info on them, magazines , brochures or anything that will show what your interests or hobbies are. The list goes on and on and on...
Lets not just think about what you throw out. What does your spouse or children throw out? I can guarantee you that if you do not shred your papers, documents or anything that can be read I can find out everything about you. Everything. All without you knowing you were being targeted.
If there are things that you have merely torn up and tossed out then It just tells an identity thief to just glue the pieces back together.
What about those cheap strip cut shredders? The ones that cut the paper into nice little ribbons. Very easy to reconstruct. Identify thieves and Investigators do it all the time.
So lets say your trash makes it to the landfill. Its safe there right? Not necessarily. Did you know that most landfills are highly organized. The trash is actually arranged in a grid and every sector is dated as it fills and the trash is recorded. If I knew you throw away something the week of March 10th I would know where in the landfill to look for it. Is it a long shot? Yes but if I was motivated enough I would search for it.
So what can you do? I would go out and buy a cross-cut or confetti like shredder. They cut the paper in small little pieces. Can it still be reconstructed? Yes but it would take a lot of time and be very tedious. It is a LOT of work. If you do not have one go out and buy one today and start to use it.
More than likely a identify thief will not take the time to reconstruct your papers from confetti. Especially if you shred everything.
If you have a fireplace you can burn all your mail and paper trash. You can also make a solution that will make all the writing on a paper disintegrate. Put some bleach in a bucket of water. Put the paper in and wait a few minutes. Once the writing is ereased just dump the ink water down the drain and throw the blank paper out.
I hope you see that your trash is a big loop hole to your privacy. I hope that you go out and purchase a cross cut shredder and start to use it today!