To Shred or Not to Shred

We all know that one of the best ways we can protect ourselves from identity theft is to use a shredder for much of the personal mail that comes into our homes.  But what types of things need to go into the  shredder and what can go straight into the trash?   

Here are some of the things I recommend that you shred either in a home shredder or in an industrial shredder such as those found in corporate settings or those available at free community shredding events such as the ones I mention at the end of this list.

  •  Documents containing personal information such as your full name, date of birth, address, work or home telephone numbers, Social Security number, or driver's license number
  • Any documents containing account numbers, passwords, or user names
  • The pages of junk mail that have your name and address or computer bar codes which may contain personal information
  • Financial documents that contain information specific to your accounts
  • Credit card offers and applications
  • Blank courtesy checks
  • Monthly bills
  • Old credit cards and credit card statements
  • Unused checks
  • Any tax documents that contain personal information
  • Anything with your signature, including receipts that have all but the last four digits of your account hidden
For those in the Atlanta area, there are two upcoming shredding events that will help you get rid of your shredding backlog:

On April 16 from 10 a.m. - 1:00 p.m., the Community School and Eagle Secure Shredding will be having a community shred day in the parking lot of the First Baptist Church of Decatur located at 308 Clairmont Avenue.  A $5 donation per box (maximum of 10 boxes per patron, please) is welcomed and all proceeds go to the Community School, a school for junior and high school students with Autism Spectrum Disorders. You can find more information on this event at

There will also be a community shred day on Saturday, April 30 from 9:00 a.m. until 12:00 p.m. in the Resurgens Bank parking lot (2300 Henderson Mill Road, Atlanta, GA 30345).  This event will be sponsored by the Northlake Community Alliance, Inc. , Resurgens Bank, and Eagle Secure Shredding. The event is free but there is a request for (tax-exempt) donations to support the work of Northlake Community Alliance.  There is a limit of 5 copy-paper sized boxes or equivalent bags.  Arrangements can be made for large shred jobs by contacting Ian Taylor at Eagle Secure Shredding at (770) 619-5300.  For more information go to

If you would prefer to do your shredding at home, I recommend that you invest in the best cross-cut or diamond-cut shredder that you can afford.  Don't waste your money on the cheaper strip-cut shredders as their shredding can be put back together by identity thieves and the cheaper machines wear out really quickly.