This week I purchased a new tool for the home. No unfortunately it wasn’t a new printer, computer or anything cool like that. Instead it is a tool that has been on my want-to-buy-essential list for awhile now. What is it? A paper shredder! Not all that exciting, is it?

Last week we received a letter from our bank. It was fully addressed to my husband so naturally I tore it open. (I open all the mail as I am the one that pays the bills) The contents revealed a keycard… one of those debit cards that can be used online. However, it was not our card, nor was the letter attached to the card addressed to us! In effect, I had in my possession a debit/credit card that could be used online as well as the full name, address, DOB and bank details of another person!!! Oi Voi! How scary is that? I have since returned it to the bank, informing them of their mistake and expressing my displeasure with the whole things – especially seeing that we bank with them too? Which bank? 😉

This started me thinking about online fraud and identity theft.

A day or two later a facebook friend mentioned that their wheelie bin was stolen and some random fellow knew a lot of their details as he had found their rubbish, including papers. Then, the council issued them with an ultimatum – go pick up all the rubbish or pay a hefty fine!

This got me to thinking about the details that could be learned from a rubbish bin – where we shop and what we purchase, where we purchase our fuel, friends, banks, and many more details.

Suffice to say, this is the reason that we purchased a shredder. Apparently the best ones to buy are cross cutters. These cut the paper into teensy weensy squares so that they can’t be put back together whereas many paper shredder simply cut the paper into long strips. This isn’t as effective. The one we have is an ugly pink colour but it also shreds credit/key cards and has a letter opener. Best of all, it wasn’t expensive- not for the peace of mind of protecting our details.

I know I’m probably behind the eight ball on this… but just in case there is someone else out there who doesn’t use a paper shredder I thought I’d post and encourage you to consider it.