How to buy a paper shredder that will help to prevent identity theft

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How to buy a paper shredder that will help to prevent identity theft
2 years ago
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Of all the things you can do to keep your personal information safe from identity thieves, using a paper shredder is one of the easiest ??and most important. Thieves can't use what they can't read. Not many crooks will take the time to painstakingly piece together a pile of shredded paper.

However, picking the right paper shredder can be a challenge. There are all sorts of models with different capabilities. Prices also range from under twenty dollars to more than one hundred ??and these prices are just for models that are meant to be used in homes and small offices.

These tips will help you sort out everything and pick the right shredder for your needs.

A strip-cut shredder cuts the paper into long, thin strips. If you buy this type, be sure that you feed your paper ??bank statements, credit-card bills, credit reports and the like ??into the shredder in such a way that the account numbers are shredded and separated from one another. Otherwise, you're leaving a giant strip with all of your account numbers and other private information right there for would-be thieves to find and exploit.

The other type is a cross-cut shredder. This turns your paperwork into confetti: tiny squares that are very difficult, if not impossible, to piece together. This shredded material also takes up less space, so you can shred more paperwork before you empty the trash can.

Many models are capable of shredding several sheets of paper at once. This is ideal for telephone bills, financial statements and any other bill that's printed on multiple sheets of paper. You can just run the entire thing through the shredder and go about your business.

Before you do this, though, make sure that you know your shredder model's capabilities and limits. When the product packaging states that you should shred only five sheets at a time, you should stay with that number. Otherwise, you put too much stress on the mechanical parts, which will break the shredder faster than normal use would.

If you know that you'll shred quite a bit of paper, go ahead and buy a model that's capable of handling more sheets per pass. That way, you'll spend less time in front of the shredder.

In the past, we had to destroy data CDs and credit cards with scissors or knives. This can be troublesome, not to mention slightly dangerous. Now, however, we can buy a shredder with the ability to destroy these tough plastics for us. These models are more expensive than others, but are often worth the added investment. If you're the type of person who has quite a bit of plastic to shred, you should at least consider one of these models.

Some shredders come with trash cans; others require you to provide your own. Either option works well. If you already have a trash can that will fit the new shredder, you can save a few bucks and buy just the shredder.

You should also check out the various features that come with the paper shredders you're thinking about buying. Some, but not all, have reverse feed, blinking lights or alarms that alert you to paper jams and auto stop/start. Many of the optional features make your life easier, so they're worth going out of your way to get when you choose the model that you'll take home.

Ultimately, the best paper shredder for you is one that's affordable and capable of handling all the paper that you send its way. You don't have to have anything overly fancy: just something that works well for your needs.

By Sarah Borroum
(Help protect everything you worked so hard for)
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