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Why People Can Buy The Wrong Paper Shredder - Articles Surfing
One of the fastest-growing crimes in the UK is Identity theft fraud. The Home Office estimates it's now costing the country '1.7 billion a year, up from '1.3 billion in 2002. Despite the cost to individual victims often running into thousands of pounds, people still seem to be buying the wrong shredder for their needs.
I hope after giving you some background information on the real threat that you face from identity theft fraud you will appreciate my advice on how to avoid buying the wrong shredder. I have also put together a helpful 'Shredder buyer's guide tool'.
Identity fraud news stories appear almost every week, when a victim loses their identity it often includes losing their savings, homes or businesses to the criminals who have impersonated them, literally costing thousands of pounds.
The theft of your identity takes place when a criminal gets hold of enough personal and financial details to impersonate you. A common method is bin-raiding, when a stranger goes through your rubbish in search of discarded documents, like bank and credit card statements. Another problem is the mail being intercepted, personal documents, such as passports or cheque books, can simply be stolen before they ever reach you. Even though we are surrounded by this increased threat we still make it easy for the thief to achieve his goals.
The theft of these documents enables the criminals to start committing the identity fraud. They clone your personal details from your discarded letters, bank statements, application forms and utility bills to obtain money, goods or services in your name. This will often involve taking out loans and credit cards, or running up debts they have no intention of repaying.
Despite the huge growth in this crime a large number of people remain unprotected. There has been one solution that is continually recommended to reduce the risk of becoming a victim of identity theft fraud, paper shredders, with most news stories advising us to invest in a shredder.
The sales of shredders over the past five years have grown enormously; they are sold in a plethora of retailers from department stores to supermarkets. Whilst the sales of shredders have grown the prices have fallen dramatically.
My tips to avoid buying the wrong shredder:
1. The first item on your checklist is to decide what type of user you are?
Public Sector User
2. Next decide what type of environment will the shredder be used in most?
Small Office - 1 - 5 users
Medium Office - 5+ Users
Large Office 10+ Users
Department 20+ Users
Shredding Facility ' Industrial
3. The number of sheets you want to be able to shred in a single pass is a very important consideration? Remember the less sheet capacity a shredder has the longer it takes to shred your document.
For light home use a shredder capable of shredding over 6 sheets at a time should be a good starting point.
For a business shredder being used by more than five people I would recommend no less than a 10 sheet capacity.
4. Deciding the type of security you require will allow you to narrow the search for the right shredder. I have published a guide to the security levels available on shredders, use this to gain a greater understand of the options available to you.
5. Probably the most important thing to consider is your budget, now everyone likes to get a bargain when shopping but is a shredder a product where you should buy the cheapest? Consider what the shredder is doing for you? I like to think of my shredder as an insurance policy, I have never purchased the cheapest insurance policies and I ensure that I am protected from all risks.
Consider how much your identity is really worth; don't always go for the cheapest shredder available when, for a few pounds more, you can probably get much better privacy protection. This is one area where saving money could actually cost you money.
A well known supermarket was recently selling a shredder for '7.00, now that is cheap! On closer inspection I noticed that it only cut a sheet of paper into strips that were 9mm wide! That would make it really easy to put back together as it is only 23 strips from a piece of A4 paper. One of the most popular shredders I know about for home use is the HSM X5, this reduces a piece of A4 paper into over 400 confetti type pieces! At under '35.00 I think this offers the home user 'real' value for money.
A cheap shredder will not stand the test of time and is also more likely to jam when in use. A paper jam in a shredder is another major threat to your security, imagine you are shredding some documents and you get half way through and you experience a paper jam, after several minutes reversing the paper it is all to easy to discard the half shredded material in a waste bin. If a bin raider discovers this in your rubbish it is like gold dust, they instantly recognise sensitive information and this sticks out like a sore thumb.
If you use a cheap, noisy and low cutting capacity machine it will undoubtedly lead to frustration and after time you will forget all about shredding as it is too much of a chore. If you but the right shredder first time you will actually save money.
In summary, spend time making your decision and don't jump at the first shredder you see, it is all too easy to put one in your shopping trolley! If you want to save money don't let your identity fall into the hands of the criminals
For further help on buying the right shredder first time, I have put together an 'Shredder buyer's guide tool'. It is simple, quick and will put forward a selection of shredders suitable for your individual needs.
David Gowen ' Security Director
Copyright © 1995 - Photius Coutsoukis (All Rights Reserved).
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