A beginner’s guide to fending off hackers and scammers: Part 8 – Shredding confidential information

In Information Security ByTeam Acumin / 24th December 2015

Although most of the measures you can take to fend off hackers or scammers we have discussed in this series of articles have been fairly high-tech in nature, don’t forget that scammers and hackers can cause just as much trouble with information they find offline as they can sitting at their computers. In fact, many of them are not above sifting through people’s bins to find what they want.

There are few of us who will not have a whole host of papers, including bills, credit card statements, and old passports, to name a few, that we need to dispose of periodically. Many of these things contain sensitive data, which if stumbled upon could provide scammers with everything they need to steal our identities, seize our money and cause havoc in our lives.

For that reason, it is absolutely vital that we all take measures to dispose of our sensitive documents as securely as possible, and this means having them shredded.

Shred or suffer

Shredding documents will make them unusable to scammers who would try to take the data and use it for nefarious means, but only if papers are shredded correctly. Using a cross-cut shredder is ideal because it shreds papers in such a way that it would be worthless trying to piece them back together again, whereas papers that are shredded using a straight-cut shredder can often be taped back together and used to perpetrate any number of scams.

Disposing sensibly

Although it should be safe to dispose of your papers in the usual way once you have shredded them, some people opt to either burn the remains or take them directly to a recycling facility, just in case the remnants should get into the wrong hands.