Five Signs It’s Time for a New Paper Shredder

You’ve been putting off that paper shredder purchase for a while now, even though the one you have might be jamming, noisy, or filling up just too fast. Here are some options to consider when making a personal shredder upgrade.

different paper shredders

  1. Current Paper Shredder Needs to Cool Down Too Often

When you’re shredding and you see that red light, you know your paper shredder needs a break. You may need to wait awhile until the machine cools down and is ready to shred again. If you’re using an office shredder, this can take a lot of time out of your work day.

Select a paper shredder with longer run time. Here is one office shredder that will let you shred for up to 30 minutes.

  1. Current Paper Shredder Fills Up Too Quickly

When you first bought it, the paper shredder bin capacity was probably okay for your needs. Now you may notice that you are shredding more and more often. It seems like you do nothing but empty that bin. It may be time to get a paper shredder with larger bin capacity, just more room for more shreds.

  1. Current Paper Shredder Jams

You may put up with paper jams, for awhile. Eventually tearing half-shredded sheets out of the cutters tries your patience. Select a personal shredder with 100% Jam Proof technology and say goodbye to paper jams.

  1. Current Paper Shredder is Just Too Loud

If you shred a little, a noisy shredder is a nuisance. If you shred a lot, then it becomes an aggravation. End that endless whirring and grinding that drives everybody at home or in the office crazy. Get an office shredder or a personal shredder with quiet performance features like SilentShred.

  1. Shredding Takes You Away from Other Work

Disposing of large quantities of documents, especially during tax season, can mean endless time standing in front of the office shredder. However, new automatic shredders are available that allow you to simply fill the bin, push a button and walk away. The new AutoMax shredders perform this task, shredding crumpled paper, stapled paper and paper clipped paper just as easily.  The new AutoMax shredders come in large office shredders versions and small office shredder sizes to meet different shredding demands.

Tax Time Shredding at Home

paper shredder for tax documents

The hardest decision for many taxpayers organizing their records during tax season is determining what to shred. Here are some general guidelines to prevent your tax records storage from becoming a paper pile.

Bank Statements

Shred bank statements should for one year, unless you think  you may be applying for Medicaid. Many states require that you show five year’s worth of bank statements for Medicaid application. Check with your state Medicaid guidelines for keeping bank statements.

Credit Card Bills

Use your paper shredder to destroy credit card bills, unless you are using them to verify a purchase that is relevant to a deduction.

Old Tax Returns

Despite being able to amend your tax returns going back three years, the IRS has seven years to audit your returns if the agency suspects you made a mistake, and up to six years if you likely underreported your gross income by 25 percent or more. As a result, you need to hold on to your returns and all supporting documents for seven years. After that period, older returns can be safely destroyed using a home paper shredder.

Some tips for finding a personal shredder for tax time.

  1. For purging lots of old tax records you may want a shredder with longer run time, so you don’t need to wait for the shredder to cool down.
  2. Frequent shredding can mean more paper jams. Find a personal shredder with anti-jam technology to avoid the frustration.
  3. A shredder at home also raises the risk of injury, especially during tax time when the paper shredder is in frequent use. Make sure you find a home paper shredder with safety features to protect kids in the house for accidents.

Retirement Account Statements

Keep notices of any portfolio changes you make intra-month (or intra-quarter for some plans) until the subsequent statement arrives to confirm those changes. After making sure the statement is correct, you can shred away. One note: keep evidence of IRA contributions until you withdraw the money.

Financial Investment Statements

Brokerage and mutual fund account monthly statements/periodic trade confirmations (taxable accounts): Retain confirmations until the transaction is detailed in your monthly report. For tax purposes, flag a month where a transaction occurs, because you may need to access this information in the future. Otherwise, shred monthly statements as new ones arrive, but keep annual statements until the sale of each asset within the account occurs and for 7 years thereafter, in case you get audited.

Pay Stubs

Keep for one year and be sure to match them to your W2 form, before you shred.

Medical Records

Given how hard it is to deal with health insurance companies, you should keep medical records for at least a year, though some suggest keeping records for five years from the time treatment for the symptoms ended. Retain information about prescription information, specific medical histories, health insurance information and contact information for your physician.

Utility and Phone Bills

Shred them after you’ve paid them, unless they contain tax-deductible expenses.

 

Tips for Protecting the College Bound from Identity Theft

College

There are many worries we can have when kids are off to college, but identity theft doesn’t occur to us something that we should be concerned about. After all, college kids generally don’t have credit, so why would they become targets?

The fact is, people in their twenties make up 20 percent of all identity theft victims, according to the Federal Trade Commission. Their empty credit history is just what identity thieves are looking for–a blank slate means easy credit approvals!

How Does Identity Theft Occur in College? Five Problem Areas and Solutions

  1. Shared spaces

Dorms can be crowded, shared spaces that rely on the trust of roommates. Even if new roomies can seem like friends, the risk of theft is always there. In addition, a single floor of any dorm can house hundred of students who can easily gain access to dorm rooms when they are vacant. Stolen items are bad enough, but ID information can be copied and put back without a student every knowing his or her privacy has been compromised.

Solution: Use an inexpensive safe or even get a safety deposit box at the bank  for Social Security card, birth certificate and other documents you may need, but don’t need to keep around.

  1. Internet purchases

Everyday purchases online is common to most, but for college students the risk of Wi-Fi hacking on campus is increased as identity thieves tap into unsecure Wi-Fi signals to gain access to online credit card transactions. Identity thieves rely on the stats, which indicate that almost 30 percent of college students ignore their checking account and credit card balances.

Solution: Check credit card statements regularly for fraudulent charges.

  1. Too many credit card applications

Credit card companies know college students need money and immediately begin the direct mail campaigns that offer attractive introductory offers targeting college students. Often recipients will toss these applications unshredded into the trash. In fact 49 percent of today’s college students receive frequent applications for credit cards, and 30 percent of those college students throw the applications away in their original condition – that is, with all the personal information intact.

Solution: Keep a dorm shredder. The best shredders for dorms are compact, powerful and can easily shred credit card applications, stapled and paper clipped documents and even credit cards and DVDs.  See Top Dorm Shredders For College Students.

  1. Taking care of campus documentation

Too often college and university campuses rely on Social Security numbers to identify students. This means that college paperwork, student loan documents and other information provided to and from the college can contain confidential information.

Solution: Shred all unnecessary documents. Even if you are not sure that the paperwork contains confidential information or not, using your dorm shredder to destroy it can take only seconds and leaves you with peace of mind.

  1. Keeping electronic screen info private

Shoulder surfing, the technique of peeking over a shoulder to acquire information off a laptop or tablet becomes even more useful to identity thieves in crowded college libraries and cafeterias. It only takes a minute for passwords, user names and even bank account information to be snapped with a phone and used later.

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Solution: Keep tablets and laptops protected with privacy screens. Blackout privacy screens black out the side view image of the screen from either right or left while leaving the frontal view clear. This allows any student to work on electronic devices in public without worry.

See the best privacy screens for college

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Journal of an Identity Thief

Opportunity Strikes Identity theft isn’t always targeted. It often begins when an opportunity presents itself, like finding an unshredded credit card application that must have blown off of a garbage truck. What does it reveal? A name, an address and a proposed line of credit. american-express-bank-credit-card-wrinkled-paper-flip-book-direct-marketing-326823-adeevee

The Stake Out Now that I know the address, I can watch the house and find out what day they put out their garbage. If they didn’t shred this credit app, they probably have thrown away other unshredded documents that might have value. I wait until nightfall and start diving.

 

100_0836A Small Prize I find an expired car insurance policy. This indicates that they might have recently switched insurance companies. I will come back over the following weeks to keep digging, but for now I can use this.

 

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Gone Phishin’ Their phone number is on the policy. I make a call pretending to be the insurance company and thanking them for renewing their policy. The victim insists there must be some mistake, that the policy was cancelled. I apologize. I validate with their information: name, address, makes and models of cars covered. I know their policy number. I now seem completely legit. To confirm their cancellation I need their social security number….

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Solution

By shredding everything, even documents that seem to contain nothing important, you can avoid becoming an entry in an identity thief’s diary.

130C Auto Feed Shredder

130C Auto Feed Shredder

 

Selecting the right shredder More About Identity Theft  Best Reviewed Shredders

The Financial Disadvantage to Outsourced Shredding Services

In-House Shredding Advantage

Now you can shred in-house with the same convenience, but for less! It’s hard to imagine that more convenience, increased efficiency and higher security can actually come at a lower cost. With Fellowes® AutoMax™ shredders, in-house shredding can provide time and money back to your business, boosting productivity. Shredding jobs can now be taken care of faster than having to wait for outsourced services and without the worry of confidential documents getting into the wrong hands.

Three Year Shredding Expenses

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Learn more about Auto Feed Shredding

Choose an AutoMax shredder that’s right for you: AutoMax options

Purchase An AutoMax

The Hidden Cracks in Workplace Confidential Document Security

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You have buttoned down your IT security, so you think you can breathe easy. But hacking is about strategy, not just technology. Paper-based identity theft remains a threat, even to companies with sophisticated digital defenses. While the focus on digital security grows, identity thieves, and even corporate spies, are finding easy access to neglected physical document security.

Off-site services and security breaches

Off-site shredding services are an easy path for identity thieves. Getting into legitimate off-site shredding companies, thieves can show up at your office and wait for you to hand over your confidential documents.

On-site keeps it confidential

By maintaining on-site shredding you can ensure that private information, stays private. If the convenience of off-site services are still a consideration over security, on-site automatic shredders are the perfect choice. They make on-site security management even easier, allowing hands-free, walk-away shredding a convenience, without compromising confidential information.

Corporate spies with low-tech strategies

Corporate spies will find any possible way to get to key classified documents. If they can’t get this info through digital hacking, they can go low-tech just as easily.

Making shredding procedures a part of your office policy.

What spies are looking for, and what you should shred at the office:

Company Phone Books

Can give a hacker names and numbers of people to target and impersonate.

Organizational charts

Contain information about people who are in positions of authority within the organization.

Memos

Provide small amounts of useful information for creating authentic looking fake memos.

Policy manuals

Show hackers how secure and insecure a company really is.

Calendars

Can tell a corporate spy which employees are out of town at a particular time.

Incidents of off-site shredding security breaches are showing up in the news: Document Shredding Company Employee Eyed in ID Theft Ring…Read More

Three Essential Small Business Productivity Upgrades for 2015

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1. Upgrade your Business Technology

Working with outdated software and using yesterday’s technology may seem like a cost-saving approach, but for any small business, time consumed by underperforming technology is money lost. Stay up to date so that interactions with customers and vendors remains efficient. Automate common tasks like shredding. Using “ walk away” automatic shredders allows you to get back to more essential business obligations while getting necessary shredding tasks performed. See what size automatic shredder you need for your business.

2. Upgrade to Temps and Part-Timers

Small business owners have a tendency to multi-task to save money. This nose-to-the-grindstone approach may seem admirable, but in the end, time and productivity are lost by owners too busy to be running the business. Use temps and part-timers to take over the less important jobs, so you can resume your role as company leader. After all, you are the CEO.

3. Upgrade to Experts

Many small business owners may try to self-train to perform important duties for their business without the help of others .Unfortunately, trying to wear too many hats eventually reveals your lack of expertise and comes off as a lack of professionalism to customers. Take charge by bringing in the right people-freelancers are great for offering expertise at an affordable rate to help your business grow.

Productivity experts show what you can do with 15 minutes.

The average 24 hour cycle consists of 96 15 minute blocks. Productivity experts and consultants say that envisioning your time in this segmented form lets you take each 15 minute block and make a concentrated to do list. You will be surprised at how much you can get done.

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Manage your emails. Delete, respond, clear the in-box. As part of one 15 minute block, you can delete unwanted mail, and mark important emails as unread so they won’t slip off the radar, which lets you quickly organize what needs to be taken care of, and what is just clutter.

Organize Your Desktop. Purge the unnecessary and put away the important. With automatic shredders you can shred outdated and obsolete files automatically, while you manage the important ones that need to be organized and stored away.

Manage your VoiceMail. Delete, respond, get rid of the red light. Too easily, important calls and unimportant calls get lost in the voice mail archive. Don’t get labeled as the one who never picks up. Respond to important calls and delete the unimportant ones so you do not experience message overload.

The 15 Minute Brainstorm. Brainstorming sessions do not need to be elaborate conference room events with lots of participants. Get on the phone or call a colleague into your office and work out a problem together. You may even solve it in 15 minutes.

Proof a Presentation. Hours spent writing that awesome presentation can  be undone by one  embarrassing typo!  Take 15 minutes to proof for perfection. 

Add 15 minutes to Your Day

The US Department of Labor Bureau of Labor Statistics states that the average small office spends 15 minutes of personnel time shredding per day. The Fellowes AutoMax 130C and 200C bring you hands-free walk away  automatic shredding so you don’t waste that time shredding. Just think of one of your 15 minute blocks as free.

Add 15 Minutes to Your Day

Add 15 Minutes to Your Day

Auto Feed Shredder Performance Now Available for Small Business

The AutoMax commercial line of shredders has extended to include automatic performance for smaller office needs. The new 130C Auto Feed Shredder includes fast automatic shredding for medium usage and 130 sheet automatic and 8 sheet manual shredding capacity.

Small businesses that handle confidential information such as mortgage brokers, real estate agents and small medical offices may find the time taken shredding documents both tedious and time-consuming.  However, as the auto-feed category focused on large capacity users such as large corporate offices, small businesses continued to rely on traditional shredders to maintain their identity theft prevention.

The new models available to small businesses offers that technology and convenience on a smaller more useful scale for medium usage workplaces.

130C Auto Feed Shredder

130C Auto Feed Shredder

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The 200C Auto Feed Shredder offers a 200 sheet automatic and 10 sheet manual shredding capacity for slightly higher sheet capacity needs.

Both of the new automatic small business shredders also include:

  • Auto Reverse stops and reverses paper if a jam occurs
  • SilentShred™ offers ultra-quiet performance for shared workspaces
  • Energy saving Sleep Mode feature shuts down the shredder after 2 minutes of inactivity

 

For larger offices the AutoMax commercial shredders still provide the large capacity shredding needs in two powerful models: Commercial Auto Feed Shredders.

Still having trouble choosing the right shredder? Use our shredder selector tool: Shredder Selector