Shredding documents can stop identity theft

Shredding documents can stop identity theft

By Dennis Rockstroh
11/3/2006 – Action Line: Shredding documents can stop identity theft
By Dennis Rockstroh
Q I live on the third floor of an apartment complex in Santa Clara.

Outside my bedroom window is the back parking lot and a dumpster.

The other morning, about 6 a.m., I heard a bang, which turned out to be the dumpster lid.

A woman had climbed inside with a flashlight and was looking around.

We have several dumpster divers looking for cans and bottles, but this wasn’t one of them.

I keep a strong flashlight by the bedside, so I turned it on and pointed it at her, having been awakened by the noise and none too happy about it.

She mumbled something about “It’s OK, I’m OK., I got it,” and jumped out carrying just paper, and ran out to the street.

When I went down to my car, going to work a few hours later, I took out my trash. There at the side of the dumpster were a few pieces of paper, credit card receipts, bank statements and phone records.

Andy Hyslop
Santa Clara

A It’s hard to tell what you saw, Andy, but it serves as a reminder to shred important documents before disposing of them. When you toss these documents, you could be setting the stage for the theft of your identification. With the right information, a crook can take out loans in your name, drain your bank account and place orders on the Internet and do other nasty things to your financial health. Shred.

Q It appears that my back yard is the access for Charter Cable in my neighborhood.

If a neighbor wants to add cable, the Charter guys knock on my door and I give them access to my back yard.

I would like to change this.

I don’t have Charter service, nor do I want it.

It is inconvenient for me to allow Charter into my back yard to get to cable access.

I called the 866 number for Charter in the phone book and was told that since that cable is their property they have a right to it.

I have no problem with their rights, I just don’t want it in my back yard.

Who do I call to get this removed?

Kathryn Waggoner
Morgan Hill

A You can check the county records on your property to see if there is a utility easement on it. There probably is. Utility easements are strips of land used by utility companies to construct and maintain overhead electric, telephone and cable television lines and underground electric, water, sewer, telephone and cable television lines.

You can see property records on the Web at

If you can determine that Charter has no right to access your property, you might want to send them a polite letter telling them that and asking that they not trespass. Or you might want to sell them an easement. You would probably need a lawyer.

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