Protect your identity and your privacy. Take a few minutes to shred your trash, or any documents and mail with PII (Personally identifiable information) printed on them.
Shred your trash
While talking to a Law Enforcement professional a few weeks ago, he commented that he could learn everything he needed to know about someone simply by going through their garbage. They can determine everything, from your favorite restaurants to how much your car payment is and who you pay it to.
Most people think “Toss something in the garbage and it’s gone.” Poof!
These days you can’t risk just throwing things in the trash, even envelopes with your address on it. Identity Theft is huge right now, and that’s 99% of the info someone needs to start opening credit in YOUR name.
A stalker could learn, when and where you eat, the movies you like, what time you shop, where you bank. If someone steals your identity you probably won’t be physically assaulted, but a stalker, who is obsessed with you, or a family member, could really do some damage! This adds a very physical layer to your opsec.
You need to ensure that you are shredding (or burning, if applicable) anything with this information:
- Your name
- Your name and address
- tear off and shred shipping labels from boxes
- Insurance/medical statements
- envelopes from any investments, banks, credit cards, medical, insurance, anything that can link to you to company, financial institution or service provider!
- your friend’s/family’s name and addresses (return address on envelopes)
- invoices or receipts for things you’ve ordered online or purchased locally (cash purchases too). No one should know what you’ve been buying or stocking up on! Ever.
- Random stuff, to muddy the mix, of contents. I shred random stuff that I print out, and random junk mail just to make it harder to figure out what is what.
Also make sure to tear down any boxes from large items and fold them inside out to obscure/hide the labels. This will keep nosy people, driving past your house, from knowing that you just got some new large electronics!
This list isn’t 100% complete, but look at what you throw away and decide what value it has, or what harm it can cause, if it falls into the wrong hands!
Keep a large trash can someplace and every time that you dump in more shreddings, stir it and mix it up really well. Make sure to use a Cross Cut Shredder to make it really hard to get your information!
$50 spent on a Cross Cut Shredder is much cheaper than trying to restore your good credit, or your privacy!
The shreddings can be burned for further security, thrown away, or recycled as packing materials!