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Shred it to avoid identity theft

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By Jay Polk - bio | email

ALBANY, GA (WALB) – Every year, thousands of people in Georgia fall victim to identity theft.

But you can stop identity thieves in their tracks.

If you're like most Americans you get dozens of bills every month.  And if you're like most people you faithfully pay those bills. But then what?

When you're finished paying your bills for the month, you might be tempted to take the old statements and throw them in the trash can. But security experts say that's a bad idea.

Because it can lead to one of the biggest problems that you can face. Identity theft.

Johnny Reddick, Jr. of Staples said, "identity theft is running rampant out there these days."

And it's not just adults that fall victim to this crime.

"You can have somebody getting credit inside of your child's name," said Reddick.

While there's more than one way to do it, there is one good way to avoid becoming a victim.

"We recommend shredding it," he said.

The new shredders that you get in the store are much better than the old types, which simply cut the paper into strips.  And that led to a problem.

"It was easy to just take a bunch of strips and just put them together like a jigsaw puzzle," said Reddick.

But even the best puzzle maker won't be able to put the bits of paper produced by modern shredders together. And they can even take care of more than just one or two sheets of paper.

"You can shred credit cards to CDs to multiple sheets of paper," said Reddick.

If you don't feel like buying a personal shredder - or if you have a whole bunch of paper - you can always take it to an industrial scale shredder.

While either method will cost you some money, there's one thing that you gain from turning your paid bills into little bits of paper: peace of mind.  And it's hard to put a cost on that.

You should shred anything that has your social security number, name or address on it. A good shredder will cost you between 50 and about 250 dollars. Industrial shredders will cost you a few cents per pound and they can recycle it for you as well.

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