Criminals are Getting Smarter and Dirtier by Going Through Your Garbage


They're going for information on your bank account, credit cards and investments, all of which can help them rob you blind. To legally protect yourself, the obvious solution is to shred your documents.

"A shredder is one of the smartest investments someone can make," says Heidi Jessup, product manager for Fellowes, the world's leading manufacturer of personal shredders. "People realize that nowadays it doesn't make sense to leave your private information blowing around on the street -- and with today's shredder prices, there's no reason to."

But in order to make an educated purchase and get the right shredder for your needs, consumers need to understand the basics: performance, security and convenience.

Jessup offers the following tips to keep in mind when buying a shredder:

"Buy a machine that offers 'hassle-free' performance -- consider capacity and durability first," Jessup explains. "Ask yourself whether you want a shredder that can handle staples and paperclips, and if you want to chew up three or ten sheets at a time." Buying a small machine to do the work of a larger machine can lead to a constantly stalled, jammed or even broken shredder -- as well as a frustrated user.

Security and convenience should also be part of the evaluation process. Strip-cut shredders are more economical, but cross-cut shredders offer greater security and operator convenience. "By shredding documents into unreconstructible confetti-like particles, cross-cut machines typically require four-to-five times less emptying of the wastebasket-which is important in a busy office environment," says Jessup.

Other "creature features" to consider include whether the machine automatically starts shredding when the paper is placed in the entry and stops when shredding is complete, as well as whether the machine is portable, comes with a basket, integrated stand or console. The decision depends on your need and your budget.

Any way you cut it, there's only one way to ensure your sensitive documents don't end up in the wrong hands. Buy a shredder that's easy to use and meets your needs. Jessup agrees, "If your shredder makes document destruction easy for you, you'll use it regularly and benefit from your purchase. (NAPSI)


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