7 reasons to have documents shredded

via 7 reasons to have documents shredded, clarionledger.com.

PDF: 7 reasons to have documents shredded

With all of the publicity surrounding the recent data breaches at Target, Michaels and others, the awareness of identity theft has mushroomed.

This crime victimizes consumers in ever-increasing numbers. According to the National Crime Victimization Survey, the incidence of fraud is increasing and claimed about 16.6 million victims in 2013 (about 7 percent of Americans).

That calculates roughly to about a one in 14 chance of being a victim. “I’ll take those odds,” you might say, if you’re a risk taker. But not so fast. That’s actually a pretty high level of risk, compared with a list of risks published by the National Safety Council, tabulating the odds of misfortune.

Statistically, the risk is much higher than, say, dying in a car accident (1 in 108, according to the National Safety Council), but not as high as perishing from cancer or heart disease (1 in 7). That’s pretty sobering, and, really, statistics only matter when the statistic is not you.

The fact is, identity theft does not respect borders or income, race or neighborhood. Far from being a victimless crime, it can shatter hard-earned reputations and mow down carefully-tended gardens of credit. In some cases, it can even lead to innocent people being wrongly accused or even prosecuted for crimes they didn’t commit.

Many of our state and local agencies and consumer-oriented organizations are getting together to hold shredding events this Friday and Saturday. Anyone with a pulse should make plans to attend these events, some of which will also provide a chance to bring old electronics junk, such as outdated computers, to be securely destroyed. Will shredding alone erase your risk? Absolutely not. But it’s one important piece of a strategy to decrease your risk of becoming a victim.

So, here are seven reasons why you should take advantage of this and every other free shredding opportunity, in Letterman-style presentation:

7. It’s cool to see and hear your documents being munched into confetti.

6. You are doing something to help keep you from becoming a victim.

5. There is an infinitesimally small chance anyone would be able to use those documents against you, because they’re hamster bedding.

4. You are doing your part for the planet; those old bank statements might become one of more than 5,000 products.

3. You can rest easy knowing you’re giving a job to the man who drives that cool shredding truck.

2. By bringing that old computer for destruction, you are saving some pretty nasty materials from going into landfills and poisoning groundwater.

1. Did I mention it’s free?

Bill Moak writes the Consumer Watch blog for The Clarion-Ledger. Contact him at moakconsumer@gmail.com.

TIMES AND LOCATIONS:

Friday, 7:30 a.m. to 2 p.m.

• Home Depot, 6325 I-55 North, Jackson

• Wal-Mart Supercenter, 3929 N. Gloster St., Tupelo

Saturday, 7:30 a.m. to 2 p.m.

• Wal-Mart Supercenter, 2400 Hwy 19 North, Meridian

 • The Home Depot, 50 Halls Ferry Park Road, Vicksburg

BancorpSouth, 3101 Hardy St., Hattiesburg

• Wal-Mart Supercenter, 3615 Sangani Blvd., D’Iberville

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