Private Investigations and Personal Security/Shredding important info


It takes alot of time to shred old checks, mail, etc.

I don't believe anyone is going in my trash.  I live in a house.  So my trash go to the dump.

In your opinion, wouldn't it be enough to wrap securly (putting it in several bags)important info and put it in the garbage, without shredding it?

Thanks in advance.

Thanks for your question, it is a good one!  What you should shred depends on your situation.  

Everyone should have a shredder (inexpensive at Office Max or Staples) for highly personal information such as checks, bank statements, pay stubs, credit card statements, medical information, and anything with your Social Security Number on it.  The reason for this is that anyone who stole it (probably from your garbage before it was picked up) could use that information to pose as you - steal your identity - and cause you endless trouble and financial loss.

People who are being stalked or harassed by someone might be trying to keep even more information private.  Those folks often shred anything with their name and address on it, including magazine labels and addresses on envelopes.  I hope this doesn't apply to you, but if it does, you should assume that your stalker will go through your trash eventually, and you should shred everything you don't want your harasser to see.  To minimize the work, you can tear off and shred just the sensitive part of some documents (such as the address on an envelope but not the whole envelope).

A few extra minutes at the shredder is a good investment in personal safety.  If you get the kind of shredder that sits across half of a wastebasket, you can use the same wastebasket for both shredded and regular trash, which might make it faster or more convenient.

 Stay safe,

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Lyn Bates


Are you being stalked? I can help evaluate the amount of danger you are in, and can provide very specific suggestions for increasing your safety, and for managing your situation. As a founding member and the current Vice President of AWARE (a volunteer, nonprofit organization), I have helped thousands of women learn to protect themselves from crimes ranging from minor harassment to serious assault. I am currently writing a book on safety for stalking victims. I have lectured at annual training meetings of the American Society of Law Enforcement Training, Women in Federal Law Enforcement, the International Women Police Association, the American Society of Criminology, and the American Women`s Self-Defense Association. In 1997, the American Tactical Shooting Association gave me their annual Tactical Advocate Award for teaching and writing.

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