Paper Shredders Will NOT Protect Your Identity

I just read (skimmed) this article from the head of a company called MyBinding. While he offers some useful advice in his article, he implies that purchasing a paper shredder will protect you from Identity Theft.
Is it time to beat this dead horse again?
Here’s the deal.
Identity Theft is so easily committed because all of our information is so easily accessible, and also so easy to falsify. (The real issue is that our social security numbers are so valuable, and until we get that changed, Identity Theft will continue to be a problem.)
It’s not that shredding your stuff isn’t a good idea, but to suggest that having a paper shredder will somehow protect you is not only misleading, it’s just wrong.
(Aside: I’m not talking about corporations here. Corporations which have any personal information on customers or employees, and don’t have some sort of shredding plan in place, are just asking for trouble. It’s a lot of information collected in one place, which identity thieves thrive on. Why steal one identity and use it once when you can steal 10,000 identities and resell them over and over again? So companies, whether you’re small, medium, or large, you must put together a plan that encompasses not only shredding, but information security as well.)
On a personal level, however, the only studies I’ve ever seen that suggest that (personal, at-home) shredding reduces Identity Theft, were ultimately financed by people who own or are tied to companies that sell personal paper shredders.
Conflict of interest much?
So, shred if you want. It’s a good idea.
But realistically, it’s not going to reduce your chances of becoming a victim of Identity Theft very much, if at all.
Anyone who tells you otherwise is probably trying to sell you a paper shredder.

(I’ve posted the aricle I was reading below, just in case you’re interested.)

Unfortunately, we all have to be a little paranoid when it comes to identity theft. Credit cards get stolen, computers get hacked and dumpsters get raided, all in an attempt to gain people’s person information. Private information such as credit card numbers, social security numbers, bank account information and various bills can be used to steal your identity.
Many businesses and home offices have another layer of information to worry about: confidential documents. These confidential documents can hold information regarding clients or the company itself. Either way, the company is responsible for protecting such data.
What You Can Do to Protect Yourself
Paper shredders are a simple solution to destroying many of the documents and materials that hold private information. While digging through your garbage is not the only way someone can steal your identity, it is a major source. Businesses big and small, educational institutions, churches, homes, banks and government agencies all use paper shredders to protect private documents and information.
Lucky for consumers, there are paper shredders available to meet the needs of everyone. Personal shredders all the way up to industrial shredders are on the market and available to purchase. Depending on the actual space you have for the shredder and your specific security concerns, you should be able to identify a shredder that fits your needs.
Paper Shredder Choices
Like binding machines, laminators and just about every other office product, paper shredders come in many different forms. These are some of the most common:
* Industrial: Industrial High Capacity shredders can handle a high number of documents. They won’t overheat even when you insert large stacks of paper simultaneously.
* Cross-Cut: Cross-cut shredders make both vertical and horizontal cuts. This type is usually more expensive than a strip-cut shredder. However, these shredders are more secure than strip cut varieties.
* Strip-Cut: Strip-cut paper shredders slice the paper into long pieces. This is the most basic and prevalent type of shredder. These machines are generally able to shred a large amount of documents quickly.
* CD/DVD: There are also shredders available to destroy CDs and DVDs. Nowadays, many people keep more information on disks than on paper. These durable and heavy-duty shredders will render the disks unusable by slicing them into pieces.
Choosing the Right Paper Shredder
Office product manufacturers offer a wide selection of paper shredders. A quality company will be able to sell you whatever office products you need-paper shredders, binding machines, binding supplies, coil bindings, wire bindings and laminators, all in one fell swoop. New businesses will sometimes buy all of these products at once. For most, however, it is a gradual build-up to outfit a business, home office, church or school.
Once you find an office product company you trust, make sure they offer guarantees on each product. Promises of good customer service and product repair are important when it comes these products as well. This is especially true with something like a paper shredder since it may mean the difference between protecting your personal information and becoming the victim of identity theft.
Most consumers are surprised by the fairly minimal amount of information it takes to steal someone’s personal information or corrupt the integrity of a business’ security. Taking simple steps, such as purchasing a paper shredder, can help you avoid a lot of pain and suffering in the future. That seems well worth the small investment.
About The Author: Jeff McRitchie is the designer and Director of Marketing for He has written over 100 articles on binding machines, laminators, binding supplies, binding covers, 3-ring binders, index tabs, laminating pouches, roll laminate film and more.

6 thoughts on “Paper Shredders Will NOT Protect Your Identity”

  1. I think personal shredding doesn’t work. That’s why I’ve taken all my stuff to this company called Stordok. They seem to do a really good job with shredding my documents. I’d rather do that, because at home, it won’t make much of a difference. However, shredding done by professionals is worth it.

  2. While I agree that shredding your documents isn’t a one-step approach to safeguarding your identity, I think you’re dismissing the importance of shredding personal information.
    Shredding your personal document keeps them out of the hands of dishonest people.
    It’s true that there’s far too much dependence on social security numbers. It’s also true that there are many other way that thieves steal identities. However, shredding your personal documents is certainly a valid first step toward thwarting identity theft.

  3. All the comments on this post only prove my point further. Shredding and paper companies are the only commenters on this post. Why? They are the only ones who have “data” to show that shredding your information protects you. There is still NO study I have seen (not done or paid for by a paper shredding company) that conclusively shows shredding your personal papers before putting them out in the trash will do anything to help you protect your identity.
    Shred if you want.
    It’s a good idea. But statistically speaking, until I’ve seen otherwise, I’m still going to beat the dead horse and say that shredding your personal documents does nothing to lessen your chances of becoming a victim of identity theft… and that anyone who says is STILL (case in point being this post) just trying to sell you a paper shredder.

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