Should You Be Worried About Identity Theft?
Many people worry about identity theft – and that’s perfectly understandable. It’s America’s number one consumer crime – and it has been for years.
It’s also a crime that is growing in frequency and we all give out so much of our personal information, often unwittingly, that criminals have plenty to work with.
It’s quite possible that, whenever you consider ID theft, you will worry about some super sophisticated cyber criminal hacker type stealing your various log-ins and passwords. That’s also perfectly understandable, and taking sensible precautions when shopping online makes a great deal of sense.
However, you should be aware that many criminals take a much lower tech approach to identity theft. You might even call it “old school”.
The fact is that a lot of identity fraud crimes are perpetrated using very simple means of getting information. Criminals love to get hold of old bills, unsolicited credit card offers and other items of paper mail. It’s a much more common method of assuming somebody else’s identity than you might think.
What Does Your Trash Say About You?
You really need to wonder about just what your trash says about you. It’s not just Hollywood stars who have paparazzi raking through their rubbish to search for any juicy scoops, criminals do it to everyday people like you and me.
Without being alarmist, every sheet of paper that you throw out in your trash could, if it has any personal details on it, be used to steal your identity.
Cross Cut Shredders To Protect Against ID Theft
There are a variety of ways to do this. Probably the easiest, and most secure is to use a cross cut shredder to cut any paperwork into useless little pieces before you throw it out. These are very cheap to buy these days and won’t take up much space in your home. They are easy to use and will give you peace of mind when you’re disposing of sensitive paperwork.
You can choose from 6, 8 or 12 sheet models. Many of them will even destroy old credit cards for you. Which model you choose will just upon how much paperwork you want to shred at any one time. You can even get shredders which don’t need you to remove staples from paperwork!
Do be aware that many of these shredders are good for a period of use, typically a few minutes, and then they need to be allowed to cool down. However, that’s not a big deal for most people and you can just get on with something else whilst your shredders chills out.
Use your shredder to destroy old credit card bills, bank statements, payslips and any other important documents. It should be as much part of your home security as locking the front door at night.
Identity Theft Protection Rollers
Personally, I think that shredders are the most secure option. However, if you don’t fancy having a shredder in your home, or if you don’t have a great deal of sensitive paperwork to be disposed of, you could consider ID secure rollers.
These are ink pads which you can use to obscure any sensitive information that you don’t want falling into the wrong hands. Basically you just pass the roller over any information that you want to keep private and the closely patterned ink will keep it safe from prying eyes.
Whichever method you prefer, it’s important to make sure that you don’t make life easy for low tech criminals. You wouldn’t dream of giving someone your PIN number or your bank password. Take the same level of care with the printed information in your life.