Shred That!

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By Dave Pagenkopf

Personal security and privacy are often areas of our lives we would like to be more diligent about. Now is a great time to refresh our goals and tune up those areas!  Don’t be overwhelmed… From August 1 – 10, I am sharing 10 ideas to tune up your personal online privacy and computer security.

Tip # 10: Use a shredder!

During one windy day last fall, the recycling bins for many of my neighbors blew over and papers flew everywhere up and down the street. Among the newspapers stuck in my shrubs were cable bills and utility bills. Evidently, the bills and statements were just tossed into the recycling bin and were now blowing up and down the street. There is usually enough information on utility bills to allow someone to access one or more of your online accounts by resetting the password using the information on those papers. They may even be able to reset passwords for unrelated accounts because so much of our information is the same across all accounts (e.g. billing address, phone numbers, and email.)

In my house, I don’t keep paper around with sensitive information. Of course, I try to do everything online and not receive or generate paper in the first place, but sometimes paper documents are mailed to us. For the ones that need to be retained, I scan them and then store the PDFs on multiple USB drives. Those drives are stored in a secure location. Then the paper is shredded immediately. A trip to a local office supply store to buy a scanner and a shredder may save you a big headache later. Finally, on our street, we can even put bagged shredded paper into our recycling bin, so we can be environmentally responsible and secure.

8 Reasons to Shred the Paper!