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Discussion Starter #1
Here I am again with another link to a NY Times article, this one on a growing trend in which people buy industrial shredders for shredding their sensitive papers:

http://www.nytimes.com/2010/04/01/garden/01shred.html?

I work at home, and have gone through a string of $50 shredders over the years. I ultimately decided to use a service (I fill up bankers' boxes with papers, mostly receipts, statements, letters, anything with my name and address on it, etc.) and then when I've got 10 or 12 boxes filled up I take them to the ShredIt center in my city, where they charge me per box. They also do occasional free community shredding days, and if I could just get my act together to mark those on my calendar I could save some money.

Does anyone here have one of these heavy-duty shredders? Or do you use a service? Or do you bring your sensitive stuff to work and have it shredded by your employer's service? I'm curious to see what people do.

Identity theft is a pretty big risk in my city, and we see people going through the recycling bins on my street every week, pulling out not just the bottles and cans but also papers and other things with addresses on them. So we're pretty careful to never put anything in the trash or recycling that could be used for identity theft.
 

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I have a lot of stuff I shred too. I have also burned out 2 cheap shredders this year. It is really a mind numbing task to shred a few pages at a time specially when you have to wait for the shredder to cool down. Then when you empty it out... you get little bits of crap all over the floor.

My last shredder purchase saw me buy a $200 shredder that takes staples and more pages at a time plus it has a garbage bin sized container which I put a recycle bag in so when it's full I can just take out the bag which avoids getting hundreds of minute bits of paper all over the floor.

Still.... the main problem is that it's a pain to shred stuff. It still takes quite a while and the sound the shredder makes is irritating. I shred everything. When people apply for an apartment I get all kinds of information that has to be protected. It has to be shredded or filed.
 

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i just take all my personal stuff to my office and dump it in the office shredder box. i am hoping they are careful enough in shredding all office material...
 

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We are on our second cheap shredder (less than $30 - the kind that sits on top of the garbage pail) in 14 years. My filing cabinets are locked. I do most of my 'file management' at the end of the calendar year and we put all the discarded papers in the fireplace, so I only use the cheap shredder about 1/2 the year.
 

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I have a $50 cross cut shredder. All of the points and responses above are good, but I think this is just a drop in the bucket. Your name and address are in the phone book. When you sign up for that contest to win $50 at Radio Shack, or sign up for all sorts of loyalty programs, those companies have your name, address and other contact details on file. They run reports on you to their heart's content. Same thing with credit cards and banking info. Driver's licenses, health information, all of these have been victims of mismanagement of data. Identity thieves have been known to work at the MTO and Royal Mail.

So, while I do shred all my sensitive papers (as they come in, it's too much work if you build them up) I also realize that I have no control over the data about me that's entered into computers. So my stand against this is to decline loyalty program memberships, use cash as much as possible, etc, but even that won't protect me from someone really, truly out to get me in some way.
 

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Discussion Starter #7
So, while I do shred all my sensitive papers (as they come in, it's too much work if you build them up) I also realize that I have no control over the data about me that's entered into computers.
True, but at least I'd rather not make the job easier for the people who go through the bins on my street and presumably sell any identifying papers they find to more sophisticated criminals. A name and address is one thing, a bank statement or receipts is another. When I buy a computer or other expensive-and-attractive-to-thieves item, I take the box to the recycling center myself (and tear off the mailing labels if it came by FedEx or post) instead of leaving it in my recycling bin out on the street, as I'd rather not have the world know that I just bought something worth stealing. Will that prevent someone from breaking into my house to see what I've got? Of course not, but at least I'm not advertising my purchases.
 

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With a rental application I get a copy of driver's license, SIN card, pay stubs and sometimes bank info. Then I run a credit check which includes as information, address, name, birth date and any credit cards including numbers.

I am responsible to make sure this information doesn't get into the wrong hands. I take this pretty seriously.
 

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My neighbour called me yesterday to tell me that their three cars were broken into during the night while parked in the driveway. This has been an escalating problem in our neighbourhood. Anyway, he tells me that the thieves left his GPS devices and went through the papers in the glove box instead. He believes they are looking for identifying information. We keep our vehicle registrations and insurance slips in our glove compartments - this thread and the call from my neighbour has convinced me to take the insurance and registration forms out of the cars.
 

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With a rental application I get a copy of driver's license, SIN card, pay stubs and sometimes bank info. Then I run a credit check which includes as information, address, name, birth date and any credit cards including numbers.

I am responsible to make sure this information doesn't get into the wrong hands. I take this pretty seriously.
I refuse to give my landlord my SIN number. They have no right to know it, and no need. I also didn't disclose my credit card number, as this is also unncessary.
 

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Short story - we put out a clear plastic bag for recycling containing a bunch of shredded documents. Later in the morning my wife emails me at work that the bag is gone, but the recycle guys haven't come by yet. She's more than freaked out, now worried about identity theft. Now she's adamant that we buy a better shredder that cross-cuts the documents. Our previous one was a simple cheap model.

Since we have a LOT of archived documents that need shredding, what do you guys recommend? Paying for an expensive model, sticking with a cheap one, or using a shredder service (I'm not sure what they charge???)?

I see Staples has one on sale. Not sure if it's any good, but at least it does 15 sheets at a time. Our current one struggles with 3 at a time. Does anyone else have this model? Can it really do 15 sheets efficiently?
 
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