Shredding

I took three bags full of paper to a postal store last night on Torrance Boulevard that advertised that they do document destruction. 

Like anyone else who reads this blog, we have so many pieces of paper in our home that have our address or other personal information, and we don’t want that to fall into the hands of identity thieves who pick through trash and recycling bins. 

We have a little shredder here at home, but it can only handle so much paper before it starts begging for mercy.  If we’d fed it a little every day, we wouldn’t have gotten into this position, but everyone procrastinates, and before you know it, you’ve got three trash bags full of these bits of paper.

The gentleman at the postal store weighed my bags.  Two were 11 pounds, and one was 13 pounds.  Document destruction costs $1.95 per pound.  So we paid $68.25 to get rid of our potential identity thief bounty.  It was probably almost a year’s worth, but still….

After the weigh-in, the postal store guy started stuffing my paper into a narrow slot on top of a locked, wheeled trash bin.  He swore he didn’t have the key.  The idea was, I would watch him jam this stuff into the bin, which Weyerhauser would pick up later.  It took him about 10 minutes.

It ended up being kind of a social occasion.  We talked a lot about paper, shredders, and the things people mail us that create vulnerability.  Like credit-card offers.  You’d think it would be illegal by now to send out credit card applications with pre-printed addresses. This is an open invitation to identity theft and destruction of your credit rating.  Catalogues embed your name and address not just on the mailing label, but also the order form deep inside.  If you’re like me, your first reaction at seeing this part of the order form filled out was, “aren’t they clever?”  It’s not clever. Getting too much of this kind of unsolicited mail can cost you $68.25.

2 thoughts on “Shredding

  1. I, like anyone who fears identity theft, have the same concerns expressed here.
    There are some things you can do to prevent the ~$68.00 document destruction fee (hopefully they have done a criminal backround check on the person who stuffed it into the slot and the person picking it up and the person that is supposed to destoy it…. and the chain goes on).

    Anyway, the “shred as it arrives” approach is good. You also have the option to “opt out” of the credit card offers (requires more time and effort on your part). Several states (and more to come) are allowing you to freeze access to your credit file (called “credit inquires” ) so you can stop these incideous offers. Also, as a 2 time a year camper/floater, I venture into parts that still allow campfires and I use the accumlated stuff that never made it to the shredder, to start my campfire. Not perhaps the most environmentally friendly method but it sure as hell is effective. This eliminates all of the variables in the “chain of custody” that you mention.
    It would be nice to think that stopping the credit card companies from being able to do this (i.e. write yet another law) would put an end to this, but technology will (and has) allowed them to eliminate the postage cost and send via e-mail. Semi-regulated (and largely unenforced) promotion of credit drives our ecomony (2/3 of the economy). That is why, as consumers (not me personally) have the poorest savings rate since the depression. And it has carried over to the government, under what is suppossed to be the “fiscally responsible” party. That is why I have chosen to invest a large part of my portolio in foreign markets. Glad I don’t have any children to clean up the fiscal mess of the last 8 years (unless I had children that were born to Cheney or Bush or their cronies – then I would be rich and laughing about all you suckers).

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