In the US, identity theft has topped the list of complaints to the Federal Trade Commission – and is believed to be the fastest-growing crime worldwide. It’s a very real threat to consumers and businesses alike – with over eight million adult Americans affected by identity theft last year.
Identity thieves don’t discriminate – and no-one should believe that they are impervious to it. Every person – and even children – are at risk of having their personal information obtained without their permission and used for the wrong reasons – but there are many things we can do to protect ourselves.
Your cyber-safety is paramount and the first thing you should do is ensure that your data and your computer are protected by the appropriate levels of firewalls, security settings, anti virus programmes and other security technology. The next thing to do is to ensure that you are not making yourself vulnerable by leaving any of your personal information lying around, throwing it away carelessly etc. This could range from a gas or water bill, a credit card statement and an old resume to luggage tags, old airplane tickets, medical records or an insurance policy.
A paper shredding machine is the very best way of ensuring that personal information doesn’t fall into the wrong hands. ’Garbage grabbers’ can gather vast amounts of information – even if it takes them several weeks to accumulate it – so it’s vital to ensure that your trash can isn’t a treasure trove.
And you don’t need to take out a second bond or extend your home in order to accommodate a paper shredder either – they come in all different sizes from compact, desk-top shredding machines for use at home to large, industrial sized machines for offices. Another option is off-site secure shredding where a company will remove sensitive documents and put them into an offsite shredder which is monitored through CCTV cameras. This is a popular option where companies produce huge volumes and their document shredding machine doesn’t have the capacity to handle the load.
Obviously, the smaller the pieces of shredded paper, the greater the level of security. Shredders come in different sizes as well as in different types, with cross cut machines providing higher levels of secure shredding than the more affordable strip cut ones.
Whatever your needs, personal or commercial, a shredder is a good way of protecting your identity from unscrupulous thieves and fraudsters – and ensuring that your life doesn’t end in shreds !
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