Has Shredding Documents Become A Necessity

They call it "Mobile Document Destruction." A shredder on wheels, capable of handling thousands of pounds worth of documents.

Larry Simpson, owner of Security Shredding in Lufkin said, "we do banks, we do hospitals, medical field, doctors offices, law firms."

Any place with sensitive or confidential information on paper, Security Shredding drives over, shreds it on sight, and hauls away the paper for recycling. Why is a service like this needed? Just two words: identity theft.

Officer Greg Sowell of the Nacogdoches Police Department said, "we'll receive anywhere from 5 to 10 identity theft reports a week. That doesn't necessarily, it's probably more than that."

More than 2 calls a day, and that's just in Nacogdoches. In recent years, identity theft has been on the increase, and the importance of protecting your numbers is causing many people to shred everything. Police agree it's in your best interest to destroy every important document.

Sowell said, "anything that has personal information such as date of birth, maiden names, social security numbers, even telephone numbers really. Anything that could possibly be used to gain information."

That's a lot of paper, which is why companies like Security Shredding keep busy. It's a legitimate fear that somebody may try to steal your information.

Simpson said, "if you just throw it in the trash, it becomes in the public domain at that point. Anybody that gets in that dumpster or that trash can can have it. There's really not anything you can do about it."

Nothing you can do, except destroy everything that has any personal information about you on it.

Shredding services can work well, especially if you have large loads of documents and papers. But at a minimum of $60 a visit, it can get costly. For the private sector, the 300 LB minimum for paper before they will come out is a little more than most people have. Personal shredders can be found at most office supply stores. They can't handle as much as the industrial strength shredders the professional services use, but they are less expensive.

Teresa Davis an employee at Wal-Mart said, "we have them price ranged to $23, $44, they're really are inexpensive and these days valuable."

The catch with personal shredders is you have to look at how strong they are. Some of them cannot handle things like staples, so make sure and look to see that you're getting the one you need.

Finally, it's not just bank and credit card statements you need to watch out for in your mail. Identity theives also like to fill out credit card applications they find to open up accounts in somebody's else's name. Before you know it they run up a big bill and disappear.