Document Destruction/Paper Shredding – Why it is important.

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The phrase document destruction brings up a vision of espionage; smoke filled rooms with people being interrogated, and corporate cloak and dagger activities. Document destruction is something that the government does or big business. Document destruction is not something that the ordinary, average person has to worry about, right?


Wrong. Personal information is at a premium these days. Identity theft is big business and having your identity stolen can radically alter your life. We’ve all heard stories of a friend of friend whose sister pretended to be her and took out a credit card in her name and ran up a big bill. But we’ve also heard stories of the person who went into the bank to withdraw money only to find out that all the money had been taken out of his account and someone with his name now owns a home on the Jersey Shore. Imagine the time and energy necessary to get yourself out of that mess?


Once we recognize that document shredding is the responsibility of each individual, we can take on the task and do it successfully with relatively little effort. Start with obtaining a good quality personal shredder. Do a little research on the types of shredders out there. Take some time to think about how you want to use your shredder. Are you going to be shredding multiple pages at one time? Are you going to be shredding a little bit every day or are you the type to have a marathon shredding session every few weeks? Do you have little children in the house for whom a shredder could be dangerous? Choose a shredder according to your needs. There are many different choices out there.


The next step is choosing which documents to destroy. Nobody wants to go overboard and start shredding everything, but take some time to look at the papers you usually recycle or wad up and throw in the trash. If the document has a your signature on it, it makes sense to shred it. If the document has any personal information on it at all, shred it. If the document has account information on it, whether it’s partial or complete, shred it. If you think that someone might possibly use the information on the document in any way, it makes sense to shred it. It is, in this instance, better to shred than be sorry later.


Once you’ve made the decision about which papers to shred, get to it. Shred often. Shred daily if you need to. Shred weekly. Make a pile that needs to be shredded and get your kids to shred it for you. But follow through. Destroy the documents. Completely.


Once the documents have been destroyed, dispose of them responsibly. Recycle the paper; don’t throw it away. It might make sense to you to bag the shredded paper separately so that you’re not recycling it all at the same time in the same place. That makes it harder for a thief to un-shred a document.


Document destruction is a fact of life for us now. It’s not just something exotic we see on TV or read about in the newspaper. It’s an important part of keeping our identities safe.