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Tip Tuesday – Dreading the Shredding

shredding documents options

In many homes, I see a huge, precarious pile of paper waiting to be shredded (almost always perched atop the small, quick-to-overheat shredder!). Here are a few ideas to deal with such a pile if you too are “dreading the shredding”:

JUST DON’T! Ask yourself, WHY you are shredding? Is it because you are afraid that criminals will go through your trash to steal your identity? While that may have happened in the last century, or even in the early 2000s, now, on the eve of 2020,  the vast majority of identity thefts are cybercrimes. Cybercrimes buy your information from the dark web or glean financial information from credit reporting agencies that have experienced data breaches. I feel it is much more important to protect your password than to shred all of your documents.
GET WET! A clever client of mine decided to soak all of her “sensitive” documents and toss them in with her kitchen trash. She figured that even if someone was to go through her food trash, the sodden documents would be very disgusting and difficult to get information from.
NO RECEIPTS! By law, merchant receipts have not been printed with full credit card numbers since 2006. The chance that your current credit card number is the same now, 13 years later, is slim, so you don’t need to worry about shredding receipts.
BLANK IT OUT! Use a handy ID stamp to blank out financial information or social security numbers. You can stamp out compromising information very quickly, and then you can happily recycle that paper.
TAKE IT OUT! Office supply stores offer secure shredding by the pound. Many municipalities (like my own, Arlington, VA) offer once-a-month shredding for residents. There are often charity shredding events in the spring and fall.

Finally, I encourage you to make a personal policy about what really MUST be shredded based on your comfort level. I hope these ideas will prevent you from dreading the shredding! What method do you use? Let us know!