I was reading some different articles about shredding paper while I was doing research into the type of paper shredder I wanted to buy as my current one is starting to die. It seems that the range of people who use a paper shredder are between 18% - 51%. That's at least 49% or more who don't shred paper and are susceptible to identity fraud.

I haven't had that happen yet, thankfully. But reading the stories in the paper or seeing news on TV definitely makes me aware that I don't want to be part of that club. Since dumpster diving is perfectly legal in most areas of the country, you don't want your information floating around. I also read that some of the ID theft is by people who know you and have access your trash, wallet and checkbook.

Nearly half of all victims have no idea how their information was stolen, and only about 1 in 4 knows who did the stealing, according to a survey by Javelin Research.

Of those who do know, however, half pointed to friends, relatives, neighbors or in-home employees.
However it is the small percentage that always seems to ruin things for everyone and make life difficult.

Did you know:

Individual victims lost an average of $1,180. Where the thieves solely used a victim’s established accounts, the loss to businesses was $2,100 per victim. For all forms of identity theft, the loss to business was $4,800 and the loss to consumers was $500, on average.

Through my search I have found that cross-cutter paper shredders are better than the the strip cutters, which is good as they appear to be taking over the market lately. Strip cutter shredders still allow the criminal to reassemble the document so that it can be used. Where as cross cutters make the process MUCH more difficult if not impossible.

What does this information have to do with frugal living?
1. Shredding documents helps keep a good credit score (interest rates) without criminal intrusion
flickr/cc - llamnudds
2. Shredded documents make great stuffing for packages, without much added weight. But I would suggest filling plastic bags and tying them, instead of loose in the box or you will have a mess!

For more information on Fighting Back Against ID Theft - Read the following .pdf pamphlet

2 Comments

  1. Weightless One // Monday, October 11, 2010 7:53:00 AM  

    I go one step more and let my vermicompost worms eat my shredded documents along with my kitchen waste.

  2. John // Friday, October 22, 2010 11:46:00 PM  

    I've not tried it myself, but I remember a Japanese pen pal mentioned his family does not use shredders. What they do is save on the shredder all together by hand tearing the paper up, and putting them into a stocking (knot it with an elastic band) and putting it into the wash. The rigorous spin-wash will turn everything into pulp without getting any stuff onto clothes. I'm not sure abt ink and stuff though!