25 May The Importance of Document Shredding
How shredding prevents identity theft and credit card fraud.
With all sorts of spyware and hacking software freely roaming around the internet just looking for personal information, we tend to pay a great deal of attention to digital security. However, while this is a great idea, it often means that we neglect our printed documentation. It may seem ‘old-fashioned’, but scores of identity thieves still thrive on obtaining printed information. For this very reason, document shredders are very popular office supplies, and should be as popular in our homes as our televisions are.
Disposing of Receipts
You wouldn’t necessarily think it, but receipts are like goldmines to identity thieves. So many of us leave our grocery receipts in the bottom of our shopping bags, or throw our ATM receipts in the bin right next to the ATM. While these receipts no longer feature the entire card number to which they belong, they feature enough numbers to make them very valuable to those who make their livings through fraud. Even tearing these receipts up doesn’t deter identity thieves, which is why it is a good idea to destroy them.
Granted, you need to hang onto some important receipts, and these should preferably be kept locked away. As for the others, home shredding should be sufficient enough to deter any unwanted attention.
Go Green, but Unseen
Many companies and small businesses have the excellent habit of recycling office equipment, office consumables, and old documentation. While this is an excellent idea for the health of our planet, it can be terrible for the health of the businesses that do it poorly. Some companies simply load all of their old documents, often containing confidential information about themselves and their clients, into recycling bins and send them away. This is just inviting fraud. Documents, particularly business documents, should be thoroughly shredded before being recycled. This is the only sure-fire way to prevent fraudulent activity.
Choosing the Right Type of Shredder
As the risk of credit fraud and identity theft has increased in recent years, so has the ability of shredders. The shredders that created strips of paper are now no longer effective enough, and anyone with enough patience and the desire to piece together a particular document can easily extract its information.
These days, shredding security has levels, which are called DIN levels. This basically refers to the size of the pieces that a shredder outputs. DIN level P1 is the largest, and refers to the strips that are commonly created by shredders. DIN level P7 is the smallest type, and is referred to as ‘super micro cut’. Level P7 creates pieces smaller than confetti, and is normally used for documents that are extremely confidential.
While recycling office equipment and office consumables is a great idea, the recycling of documentation needs to be handled with a great deal of care. Document shredding is the only way to absolutely prevent fraud, and is the reason that shredders should be top of the office supplies shopping list for any business.