Paper shredding is crucial to protecting your identity

Paper shredding is crucial to protecting your identity

SOUTH BEND, Ind.— While many thieves hit you online through data breaches or compromised accounts, some still rely on old-fashioned methods like mail theft or digging through your trash.

That’s why document shredding remains an important tool in the fight against fraud, but with criminals becoming even more sophisticated, how and what you shred is more important than ever.

“I thought the need to shred documents would diminish as people do more things digitally, but we all still have copies of things even though we may receive a bill or a statement digitally,” said Lt. Cindy Kilgore of Crime Stoppers. “How many of us print them off and keep them in a file? Most of us do, so most of us are still vulnerable.”

Your personal information is everywhere, bills, bank statements, blank checks and even in credit card offers and magazine subscriptions.

If you don’t take the disposal of this personal information very seriously, it could cost you.

“This is the main reason identity theft has been the fastest growing criminal act in the world for nine years in a row,” said Chris Sheperd, a shredding service expert. “One out of every three people will lose their identity just this year.”

Residential paper shredding reduces the risk of having your confidential documents stolen and used against you, and while many people are diligent about routinely shredding documents, many also let documents pile up.

So many people are now turning to shredding services.

“A lot of questions are ‘do you have to prepare the paper?’, and you really don’t,” said Sheperd. “That’s what we’re all about. You don’t have to take the staples, the paper clips, all that stuff out of the paper. It all goes right through the shredder, which is very nice, very fast and convenient.”

If you’re going to hire help, look for a company that’s happy to showcase its process.

You should be able to watch your items literally go through the shredder so you know your information can’t be pieced back together.

“That’s our whole concept,” said Sheperd. “You stay and watch. You know it’s done, it’s taken care of, and so you have a peace of mind.”

To reduce the risk of your documents being reconstructed, the shredded material typically goes into bales with multiple customers’ shredded documents before being recycled.

Pricing options vary, but many companies charge by the minute or pound, others have their own system that customers can easily understand.

It is important to remember that before you hand over that box or bag, always double check your documents.

“You don’t want to have buyer’s remorse when it comes to shredding, so be sure you look through all your document pile very carefully before you shred,” said Angie Hicks, of Angie’s List. “Otherwise, you could end up shredding something important. Also, be sure the company you’re hiring isn’t actually going to be handling and going through the documents that you’re passing over because, again, you’re doing this for your own protection and privacy.”

Legal Shred
11806 S US Hwy 41
Gibsonton, FL 33534