Mail You Should Always Shred

shredding junk mail

The endless flow of junk mail we receive daily may seem harmless, yet much of it contains information useful to identity thieves. By casually discarding these materials into the wastebasket, you increase your risk of identity theft. A personal shredder is an easy, safe way to prevent mail containing sensitive information from ending up in the wrong hands.

Overlooked Identity Details In Your Mail

While we may be ready to shred any mail containing Social Security numbers, we may overlook other details such as phone numbers, date of birth, or details relating to employment or vehicle registration. Identity thieves use this basic information to create victim profiles. Personalized mail is a stepping stone toward a deeper dive by identity thieves toward accessing more valuable information. Make sure you shred any documents containing these often overlooked details.

The Risk of Pre-Approved Offers

Pre-approved credit card offers you receive in the mail have already established most of your critical information to make activating a new card easier. This convenience, however, brings a skilled identity thief closer to acquiring the last few pieces in the identity puzzle to open a card in your name.

Children and Identity Theft

Children are becoming one of the highest targeted groups by identity thieves, as their credit history is completely clean and thus extremely valuable.  Documents from schools, medical documents or any other mail that contains your child’s name, address or age encourages identity thieves to focus on a child’s vital data.

Need a Personal Shredder? Use this guide to help find one that fits your needs: Home Shredders

Managing A Post Tax Time Paper Purge: A Better Way To Shred

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In the wake of tax season, there remains the question of what to do with all that paperwork. Of course, much of it needs to be organized and retained. Though volumes of unnecessary documents, especially for a small business, only take up valuable file space. If these documents contain much of your confidential information they cannot be discarded and need to be shredded.

The time taken to destroy these documents, however, can become a productivity nightmare. Whether you are a small business owner or running a business from your home, spending time feeding papers into a shredder steals away important time from managing your business. In addition, depending on the size of paper shredder you own, there is also the endless emptying of the bin and cleaning up the mess that it makes. And as with most paper shredders, the limited run time means waiting for your paper shredder to cool down before you can continue with your paper purge. All in all, it’s a time vacuum.

New shredder developments, however, can improve productivity. Automatic shredding allows users to walk away from the shredder and back to more important tasks for their business.

The AutoMax 200C and the AutoMax 130C are both designed for small business or home business shredding. Both feature hands-free shredding capabilities with a difference in paper capacity. The 200C takes up to 200 sheets, the 130C, 130 sheets. Here’s how it works:

  • Pile stacks of documents into the drawer—no need to remove staples, or straighten out wrinkles or even pluck paper clips off the documents—the AutoMax automatically handles all that!
  • Close the drawer
  • Press start

The 8.5 gallon pull out bin is also easy to empty when shredding is complete.

If your business also uses credit cards or DVDs, there is also a manual feed slot for destroying those as well. You can also use this slot for destroying any junk mail that may contain sensitive information.

For larger offices, use the AutoMax Commercial Automatic Shredders.

Using the Binding Machine as a Realtor Marketing Tool

real estate marketing binding machine

With spring the housing market goes into full bloom, houses for sale, and buyers house hunting at a frenzied pace. With this competitive environment and limited resources, realtors struggle to create a distinctive point of difference with customers.

Thinking strategically, realtors on a budget can create remarkable property listings using low-cost, easy-to-use binding equipment.

Choosing The Look of Your Property Listing Design

Along with high-quality photography and a professional layout, the impression a good property listing booklet makes also comes from the quality of the binding. Selecting comb or wire binding may be adequate for some listings, but others may require the sleek look and feel of thermal binding. This is especially true for commercial property listings.

Advantages for Different Types of Binding

Comb Binding

  • Offers the flexibility to switch out pages after the document is bound
  • Ideal for bigger presentations—up to 500 pages
  • Lies flat when open for easy presentation

Wire

  • Offers a more secure, permanently bound document at a low cost
  • Lies flat when open
  • Bound pages rotate 360 degrees

 

Thermal

  • The highest quality binding, offering a book-like finish
  • The square binding edge makes it ideal for on-shelf storage
  • Lies flat for mailing. Great as a direct mail piece!

For many realtors, thermal binding is the best choice if you can incur a slightly additional cost in equipment and materials. In a review for the Helios 60 Thermal Binding Machine this realtor explains the value:

“We own a small real estate company in Park Slope Brooklyn. We purchased the thermal binder because we wanted to be able to create wire free and punch free property pitch books. The binder heats up fast and does a thorough job of adhering the glue to the pages of books. It’s quick, easy and very effective.”

 

Best Binding Machine for a Small Business

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In the digital age, small businesses still need bound documents. Brochures that promote your company, handouts for trade shows and a well-crafted business plan all require a clean, professional look on high quality stock with a durable binding. By creating these collateral pieces DIY, you can save money. Here are some tips for selecting a binding machine that will work best for your business needs.

Don’t Skimp on Binding Capacity

When shopping for your binding machine, your frugal self may lean to a smaller, personal machine. These types of machines are typically used for household projects and may not meet your professional binding demands. True, these types of machines are less expensive, but ultimately you lose time (which is money) considering the number of documents you may need to bind for a project in the future.

Choose a binding machine with a binding capacity of 120-150 pages or more for business applications. Your initial binding project may not require that many pages,  but a binding machine, like all your office equipment, is an investment in the future of your business. Anticipate bigger binding projects that will require thicker documents. While the average presentations for client meetings with numerous pages.  Though the  average length of a business plan is only about 20 pages, there will still be company brochures, product catalogs or legal service agreements in your company’s future that will definitely exceed the capacity of smaller machines. Be sure your machine has the versatility to scale with your business, handling both small and large binding projects as your business grows.

Upgrade Your Punch Capacity

Like increased binding capacity, higher punch capacity makes binding more productive. Punching more pages at once, eliminates the need to punch documents in sections, which will need to be collated later for binding. Look for a binding machine with a capacity of 20 sheets or more. Though there will be instances when you may need to produce smaller documents, you need to invest in a machine that is capable to ramp up to greater demands. You don’t want to be slowed down as you approach a critical deadline.

Centering and Alignment Guides Save Time and Frustration

Ensuring each punched document is centered can be difficult without a guide. Be sure to select a binding machine with an enhanced accuracy edge guide so you minimize the waste of mis-punched decks.

Selecting A Versatile Binding Type

Comb binding is the most commonly used for most small businesses. Combs are both affordable and durable and come in a variety of colors to make an impressive presentation. Comb binding is also extremely versatile, as the comb can be opened up after binding is complete, so pages in a report can be removed, added or switched up–a great feature that helps with last minute changes to a client-facing doc.

Utilizing Binding Cover Colors for Organization

Defining certain color themes for certain documents you present helps keep your most commonly used bound documents easily organized. When your sales reports are always represented by olive covers and your leave behinds are always blue,  your access to essential collateral pieces becomes faster and easier. Also consider matching the color of the comb binding with the cover for a completely color-coordinated look to key company show pieces.

Learn more about binding for your business.

Why Employees Prefer Better Office Equipment Over a Foosball Table

Sometimes, workplace perks aren’t always about more fun and games for employees. In a survey of  1,200 full-time office workers conducted by Versta Research, 78% would prefer better office equipment over downtime entertainment like a foosball table. The eye-opening study reveals a desire for less frustrating experiences that come with inferior office machines.

 

automatic shredders preferred by employees

This is good news for employers, as it shows a genuine motivation for greater productivity. Employees are willing to giving their opinion on what they think will make the an office more efficient. The same study also revealed that 59% of employees believe that more up-to-date technology would be among the best ways to increase efficiency.

Where Office Equipment Falls Short & How to Improve it

Business machines like paper shredders are usually ignored until they break. This can mean a loss of productive work hours when an employee needs to contend with a shredder issue, such as a paper jam, or is working with a shredder that has limitations, like a short run time or restrictions on what it can shred. If a machine has shredding restrictions, employees may be forced to spend time removing paper clips and staples from documents prior to shredding.

Being proactive as a business owner or office manager means identifying weak performing equipment and replacing it with something better.

 

Upgrading to an Automatic Shredder and its Productivity Perks

  • Automatic Shredders like the AutoMax™ 500CL boosts productivity by offering a hands-free shredding experience. Simply load the drawer, press start and walk away.
  • With continuous run time, there is no delay in shredding caused by waiting for the machine to cool down.
  • The 500CL also features a JamGuard System™ that prevents interruption due to paper jams, ending forever the frustration of extracting half-shredded documents from the jaws of the office shredder.
  • No more need to sort through pre-shred documents, either. The 500CL also automatically shreds stacks of paper with wrinkles, staples, plastic credit cards, CDs/DVDs, junk mail and even documents with paper clips

 

For smaller offices, AutoMax automatic shredders also come in more compact models designed for small businesses and even home offices.

 

Learn More about improving productivity in the workplace.

 

Seven Productive Tasks You Can Perform in 15 Minutes

15 minute productivity tips

Given the opportunity, many of us will focus on major projects and put aside the minor tasks. Eventually, these smaller “to-dos” become “must-dos” that cut into our time better spent on the big picture assignments. With 15 minutes to spare, here are everyday tasks you can easily complete. But how can you get that precious 15 minutes?

 Your 15 Minute Office Hack

The average office worker spends about 15 minutes a day shredding. Using an automatic shredder, which does the shredding for you hands-free, you can get lots done.

Respond to email-Answer those emails that have been lingering in your in-box.

Organize your desk-It only takes a few minutes to transform a desktop nightmare into an organized work space.

Send a thank you email to someone-It’s not an email that requires your immediate attention, but a courteous gesture that you now have time to do!

Update your calendar-Things change, which means so does your calendar. Make sure cancelled meetings are removed, which can make time for other tasks.

Organize your computer files-Your computer desktop can becomes as cluttered as your real desktop. Take fifteen to organize folders and word docs so you are not staring at a wall of square icons.

Review your voicemail-If that red dot of unanswered calls is staring at you, your fifteen minutes is the perfect time to delete unwanted messages and return calls.

Take a break-15 minute breaks actually improve productivity. While your automatic shredder is shredding away, you can take a few minutes to stretch, breathe and simply meditate.

Learn more about  productivity in the workplace with this infographic

Do You Know Paper Shredder Security Levels?

shredder security

When selecting a new paper shredder, think about your identity theft prevention needs and how it applies to shredding. A shredder cut size can range from strips to infinitesimal particles. Choose from one of these four levels of shredding security.

 

Strip-Cut Shredders-Security level P-2

If you only shred junk mail or are shredding just to declutter your home office, a simple strip-cut shredder is useful. A strip-cut machine reduces documents to 7/32″ strips of paper.

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Cross-Cut Shredders-Security Level 3-4

Cross-cut shredders are the first choice among most small offices and homes for destroying confidential information. Cross-cuts reduce documents to 5/32″ x 1-1/2″ particles, roughly 397 particles per sheet of paper, making them practically impossible to reassemble.

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Micro-Cut Shredders-Security Level P-5

Micro-cut shredders are growing in popularity, especially after former con man and security expert Frank Abnagle indicated that he “shreds everything with a micro-cut.” Micro-cuts are the highest level of document destruction, meeting many federal guidelines for shredding, literally turning documents to dust and leaving behind 5/64″ x 5/16″ particles in your shredder bin—that’s 3,770 particles per sheet! If you manage confidential documents including financial papers or documents containing personal information like social security numbers, than the micro-cut is the best choice for your business.

micro cut shredder

 

Government Approved Shredders-Security Level P-7

The government isn’t satisfied with micro-cut. When it comes to classified and top secret documents, government agencies use high-security shredders, transforming paper into 1/32″ x3/16″ particles. If you are looking for absolute peace of mind when it comes to shredding, selecting a government shredder ensures nothing will be left behind to piece back together.

The Risks of the Ready-to-Shred Slush Pile

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Many busy offices may not shred daily. In fact, Fellowes consumer research shows that as much 30% of offices still shred only a few times a week rather than everyday, which means confidential documents are accumulating in a ready-to-shred slush pile. When you consider that 43% of data losses were directly accountable to internal factors, ranging from disgruntled employees to corporate spies, the unattended slush pile becomes an overlooked risk.

Slush Pile Solutions

An office of any size can still manage a daily shredding policy without compromising productivity. Using an automatic shredder, makes the process easy.

Automatic shredders can handle loads of shredding all at once hands-free, eliminating the need for hand-feeding documents into the machine. This is the most common cause of the slush pile, as papers are typically set aside for a time when an office employee can handle a large shredding task.

Some models of automatic shredders feature scheduled shredding options, allowing automatic shredding to be done after business hours on a daily basis. Piles of confidential documents left exposed overnight are vulnerable to identity thieves who often take jobs with cleaning crews for the very purpose of gaining access to these documents.

Automatic Shredding-Not Just for the Big Corporate Office

Add automatic shredders to a small business as well. With the 130C  automatic shredder, small offices can also improve productivity and eliminate the risk of the ready-to-shred slush pile.

Why Accountants Need To Review Their Shredder Policy During Tax Season

shredding during tax season

Digital identity theft is the primary concern for most business professionals, including accountants. Yet during tax time, strategic dumpster diving is a common technique used by identity thieves. Focused on dumpsters behind office buildings where accountants and tax preparers conduct business, identity thieves rely on the hectic busy season to create lapses in document-based identity theft prevention.

Shredding Policy Basics

  1. Ensure all employees know what documents must be shredded. Create a list of key documents as reference for all employees.
  2. Shred all documents during working hours. Avoid leaving slush piles of paper to shred while not in the office. Cleaning crews may accidentally toss these papers if they appear as trash.
  3. Ensure shredder bins are emptied regularly. When employees are busy, full shredder bins often lead to documents being set aside to be shredded later, only to be discarded as regular trash.

Choosing a Shredder for an Accounting Office

Select a paper shredder that accommodates the size of the office.  Large, commercial shredders are ideal for any size shared office as they require less frequent emptying. Small office shredders placed by employee desks work well too. Automatic shredding is the latest in shredder technology and allows documents to be safely destroyed even after office hours with computerized settings. Learn more about Automatic Shredding

Make sure to use cross-cut shredders. Strip cut shredders are okay for households, but do not provide adequate document destruction for businesses. Cross-cut shredders grind documents into 5/32” x 1-1/2” cross-cut particles.(Security Level P-4).  For greater peace of mind, consider a micro-cut shredder.

Learn more about shredding security levels

Lax  Tax Document Destruction in the News

 

Last Minute Deductions for Your Business

 

office tax deductions

As the new year approaches, it’s a good time to review any office needs so you can add those deductions as business expenses. Here are some suggestions to improve productivity for your workplace while saving money during tax season.

Upgrading Your Office Shredder

Have you noticed that you can’t make a phone call while shredding because it’s so noisy, or perhaps you are constantly tearing jammed paper from the shredder’s jaws. Or when emptying the shredder bin, you notice that the paper isn’t quite shredded, more half-eaten? These are all signs that it is time for a new office shredder.  Upgrade to an office shredder that is jam proof, quiet and sure to turn documents to dust before 2017 starts. Shredder tax deductions.

best size paper shredder

 

Adding New Business Machines to the Office

Every time there is an important presentation and you need fifty bound PowerPoints, your first thought is usually that this is an occasional need so you might as well just take the project to your local print shop for binding. If you find yourself saying this often, then you may be throwing money away on expensive outsourced binding costs when you can do it quickly and easily yourself.

Pick out a reasonably priced binding machine and create impressive presentations for every big meeting. Plus, it’s an easy business write-off. Binding Machine tax deductions.

comb binding for business

The same goes for those pesky laminating tasks you sometimes need. If you calculated all the costs accrued every time when you needed laminated handouts for an event or laminated badges for a trade show, you would realize how much you would save with the minor cost of an office laminating machine, which is tax deductible. Laminating Machine tax deductions.

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Flexible Storage Solutions

Bankers Box tax deduction

As your business grows, so does the amount of paper records you may have to store. Your initial consideration may be metal filing cabinets, which are bulky and take up a lot of space. But more importantly steel cabinets aren’t flexible, offering solid but rigid records storage.

With Bankers Box file boxes, you can easily add more boxes as your business grows, move them to back rooms or easily take them to outside storage units without a lot of fuss. As some of your files get outdated, you can easily discard unneeded boxes. The perfect storage solution for any small business and an ideal deductible business cost: Bankers Box Tax Deductions.