Identity theft can be high tech, low tech or no tech.  As we all know, it can result from sophisticated computer hacking, but it also can come from as old fashioned a manner as pickpocketing your wallet or stealing your purse in which you may be carrying credit cards, your Social Security card or other identifying information that can be transformed into you becoming a victim of identity theft.  In addition, identity thieves will also go through your trash to find material with information that can make you a victim of identity theft such as old checks, tax records, bank statements or old credit card bills.  Many people do not give enough thought to their vulnerability to identity theft through these no tech methods of stealing your identity although the results can be every bit as devastating as becoming a victim of identity theft through computer malware.

Many people think that the common strip shredder which shreds your documents in long strips will protect you from identity theft. The truth is it does not.  This fact was reinforced recently when North Carolina television station WFMY did an experiment with a group of fifth graders at the Northern Guilford Elementary School who were given shredded documents which they were able to piece together sufficiently to recognize account numbers and other information which in the wrong hands could lead to identity theft.


When disposing of old or no longer needed documentation that has identifying information about you such as old bank statements, medical insurance bills, credit card bills or anything with your Social Security number on it, you should make sure that you shred these documents before disposing of them and make sure that you use a cross shredder because shredders that only shred in one direction do not provide sufficient security.   One directional shredded material can be pieced together to provide an identity thief with information that can result in your becoming a victim of identity theft.  For years methamphetamines addicts have done this kind of identity theft.  The lesson is that everyone should use a shredder when disposing of sensitive documents and the only type of shredder to use is a cross shredder.

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