Identity Theft : Protect Your Identity This Tax Season

It’s tax time again, and that means it’s the right time to invest in a Fellowes shredder for your business. Why is it so important to shred documents during tax time? The answer lies in a few unpleasant statistics.

Identity Theft costs businesses an estimated $50 billion annually. Additionally, Identity Theft affects millions of Americans each year – every 3 seconds there is a new victim. Also, dumpster diving for paper documents, certain types of electronic devices, and a lack of formal security policies within businesses present criminals with the right opportunity to steal your information.

Use the Checklist Below to Reduce Your Risk Factor this Tax Season:

  1. Telephone / Cell Phone / PDA Phone : Conversations can be overheard or a device can be stolen.
    • Never give sensitive information over the phone
    • Do not give information to people you don’t know
    • Keep devices in locked drawers when not in use
    • Do not store important files on handheld devices
  2. Computer / Laptop : Pop-ups, viruses, and spyware can be used to steal information, and laptops/flash drives can be stolen.
    • Do not give personal information to unsecured sites
    • Do not click on pop-up messages
    • Password protect or encrypt any files you send over the internet
    • Do not take confidential files home with you
  3. General Office : Unlocked offices and file cabinets present the opportunity to steal information.
    • Always lock your workstation or your home office
    • Keep confidential files and projects on a need-to-know basis
    • Get to know your coworkers
    • Keep track of all visitors and vendors
  4. Documents / Paper Files : Important documents are left out on desks or in copy centers and trash cans.
    • File confidential documents instead of leaving them on your desk
    • Lock all file cabinets and drawers
    • Keep a shredder in printer/copy rooms and shared workspaces
    • Shred documents you don’t need to keep

Shredding documents you no longer need – especially tax documents – helps keep confidential information out of the wrong hands. The Fellowes Powershred line offers a shredder for just about every type of security need. Here is a list of special features to look for before making your shredder purchase:

  • Most shredders can handle staples and paper clips, but confidential information isn’t only kept on paper. Fellowes® shredders also shred credit cards, disks, and CDs.
  • For shared workspaces, choose a quieter shredder. The new Fellowes MicroShred with SilentShredª feature offers whisper-quiet operation for your peace of mind.
  • If you need a higher level of security, consider upgrading from a strip cut to a confetti cut shredder. The Fellowes® Microshredª cut provides a much higher level of security by cutting paper into pieces smaller than the length of a staple – it’s virtually impossible for a criminal to reassemble and read a shredded document!
  • For safety concerns, recommend a shredder with built-in safety features like patent pending SafeSenseª technology from Fellowes®. It’s a built-in smart sensor that instantly halts shredder operation when hands are too close to the paper entry.

For more information about choosing the right paper shredder for your needs, visit Fellowes Shredder Store or check out Shredder Finder

  • Hey pal, really awesome stuff from you people. I am a home user and had some issues with my shredder but cleared everything after reading these amazing posts

  • I can not stress enought on how important a shredder is. I even use one at home for all those visa junkmail ones you get, I shred everything.

  • Great tips…thanks. I cannot stress how great shredders are. You can get them for really cheap, even Wal-Mart has them. Everything should be shreaded, as the crooks out there are getting very creative!

  • yea also be careful when eating out at restaurants… my uncle had a bunch of credit card bills that he had no idea about, and eventually he found out that supposedly one of the waiters had written down his number and used it for transactions :/

  • admin

    Thanks, Tommy, for the valuable tip; I am sorry for your misfortune. Identity theft seems to be such a common problem – I think every one of us knows someone who has experienced it in some way, shape or form. Hopefully more & more people will use paper shredders as a way to help protect them against this crime.

  • I agree that a shredder is important in protecting your identity. I’ve had my Identity stolen and It is not easy to prove (and the burden of proof rest with you)that you did not open vast credit card accounts and run up thousands of dollars in bills.
    In addition my wife could not get her drivers license because someone (a man in Georgia, where we have never been) got tickets with her social security number, and name ,on his license.
    If this happens to you (ID theft) report it to the United States Secret Service. they have authority to investigate
    and though they may (or may not) catch the thief, it will at least be reported.
    this does help in convincing creditors of your motives in reporting ID theft to them.