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    3 Must-Have Paper Shredder Features for ID Theft Prevention

shredded documents and papers

 Do you have a paper shredder? - No?

It would be a good idea to buy one immediately to protect your privacy and personal information, and to prevent identity theft.

Do this by shredding every piece of paper you handle that contains your name, address, and any account numbers into tiny pieces that a potential identity thief has no chance of reassembling.

The papers you need to destroy include your utility bills, bank statements, junk mail, canceled checks, and
most important - anything that contains your Social Security Number and even your email address.

Print-outs you make while online often include your email address, date, possibly your credit card and your bank account numbers.
Anything that can identify you, or any financial account papers that you have, must be shredded beyond recognition.

Merely depositing such papers into a garbage can is not good enough. Garbage cans and dumpsters are treasure troves for "Dumpster Divers" and identity thieves. Recycle bins are not safe either. ID thieves will dig through personal recycle bins and those at community recycling centers, to get potentially damaging information on you. You can and should recycle these documents once they have been shredded, but how should they be shredded?

                                Look for these features in a shredder.

Shredding Pattern

Early shredders simply took a sheet of paper and cut it into dozens of long, narrow vertical strips the length of the page. Although it is difficult to reassemble these strips, it is not impossible! Buy a shredder with cross-cut capability , which cuts these strips horizontally as well as vertically. Some cross-cut shredders can cut paper into diamond-shaped pieces which are even more challenging to reassemble. A shredder with an intricate cutting pattern is more secure.

Number of Pages That Can Be Shredded Simultaneously

Shredders are rated by how many pages they can shred at a time. For example, a single-page shredder requires you to insert only one page at a time. A ten-page shredder will shred a stack of ten pages at a time. A higher page rating means less work for you. A unit rated for ten pages requires ten insertions to get rid of a stack of 100 pages, while a single-page unit requires 100 insertions!

Get the highest rated shredder you can, especially if you want to shred junk mail without opening it. As an example, consider a three-page junk mail letter folded into thirds and inside an envelope. Three pages folded triple is equivalent to a thickness of 9 sheets. The two sides of the envelope add two more sheets, for a total of 11 sheets. If there is a reply
postcard or other insert, the total rises to at least 12 sheets.

If you want to shred that junk mail without opening it and separating the pages, you'll need a shredding unit that can handle at least 12 pages at once. In such cases, you will probably want to get a unit that can handle up to 15 pages, so that your shredder is not always running at maximum capacity. They will overheat and shut down temporarily during excessive usage.

Ability to Shred Credit Cards, Compact Discs, and Staples

Do you simply cut up old credit and debit cards into small pieces and toss them in the garbage? These are very easy for ID thieves to reassemble and use, especially if the cut-up card is a replacement card with the same account number as an existing card. Most modern shredders can shred credit cards with the same cutting efficiency that they shred paper,
except they handle only one card at a time. Some can also shred computer CDs and DVDs which might have sensitive financial or personal information on them.

If you have a large box of papers to shred, buy a unit that can handle staples. That will greatly increase your shredding speed.

A personal shredder can greatly reduce or practically eliminate the chance of identity theft due to information you would ordinarily throw in the trash or into a recycle bin. For maximum security, buy a shredder that can handle 12-15 pages at a time; will shred credit cards, CDs and staples; and cross-cuts the paper into tiny intricate pieces. These features will make your shredding both faster and more secure.
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                Read more - Identity Theft Awareness for Parents and Children

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