For years I have advised everyone to shred any documents they have containing personal information before discarding them. Identity thieves have been known to go through the trash of individuals, companies and government agencies looking for documents that contain personal information such as credit card numbers or Social Security numbers that can be used for identity theft purposes. Mere horizontal shredding may not be sufficient to protect you. There have been many instances where identity thieves were able to piece together horizontally shredded documents to get the information they seek. It is far better to use a cross shredder that will render the documents unusable by anyone seeking to obtain information from the documents. Although, many individuals will have their own shredders at home, many companies use the services of shredding companies that will come to the company’s location and either pick up the materials to bring back to the shredding company’s headquarters to be shredded or shred the material right at their customer’s location using a truck with shredding machinery incorporated into the truck. Recently some identity theft was traced back to a Texas shredding company Cintas Document Management that picked up documents to be brought back to the Cintas’ headquarters to be shredded. Police are investigating one particular rogue employee who it is thought took the documents he was supposed to bring back to Cintas for shredding and instead used the documents to get information which he used to make some customers victims of identity theft.
If you are doing shredding of your documents at home, you should use a cross-shredder. If you are having your documents shredded by a shredding company, you are better off hiring a company that sends a truck to your company to shred the documents at your company’s site while you watch.