More Bad Advice: Shredding prevents Identity Theft?

The Washington Post blog ran an article today about college students and some recent statistics from a shredder company. The stats talk about how college students are just as vulnerable as anyone else to Identity Theft, and that one of the best ways to reduce the risk for college students is to buy a shredder.

Caroline Mayer, the author, mentions that this is likely a marketing ploy for this company. You’re right Ms. Mayer. The other stuff they mix in as statistics is just to make their product sound more appealing to the parent of a college student.
And their ploy worked.
Ms. Mayer mentions that she talked to her daughter about getting a shredder, even though the article seems to regard the marketing tactic with some less than favorable responses.
The daughter (the college student) responded by rolling her eyes at Mom. Why?
Because the daughter is either:
1. Utterly unaware of the problems of Identity Theft (which is unlikely with a Mom who writes stories on the topic)
2. Hyper-aware of the problem, and knows that shredding really doesn’t matter.
There have been no studies shown to me on shredder safety which have convinced me that shredding really does anything to lower your risk of Identity theft. In fact, I have seen articles and a satire on Meth Addicts spending all night pasting and taping together shreddings. The author’s daughter has likely seen the news about stolen laptops, hacked databases, and stolen mail.
Is it likely her information will be stolen if she doesn’t shred? IMO, not any more or less likely than it will be stolen anyway.


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