The goal of a identity thief is to get whatever information about you that they can. This includes finding old paperwork in the trash, web searches for your name, and social media research.
Your trash could be a gold mine for identity thieves. Your trash can easily contain;
One way to eliminate the treasure trove in your trash is to shred anything with any personal information on it. A good old fashioned shredder will do the trick just fine.
There are two main types of shredders. Strip cut and cross cut. Make sure you get the cross cut type. I don’t know why they even sell the strip cut type anymore.
You could easily reconstruct things shredded with a strip cut shredder. It takes a little time and patience, but isn’t very hard to for anyone who enjoying puzzles. A cross cut shredder cuts things down into confetti style clipping. Infinitely harder to piece back together.
What should you shred? Anything with your name on it. Unfortunately this is just about every piece of mail you get. It does seem over the top to shred every piece of mail, so use your best judgement. At a minimum shred all bills, and account statements from anyone.
You can get a decent cross cut shredder for less than $100.
Get it, use it, be safe!