I was talking to a retired Law Enforcement professional a few weeks ago and he commented about how he could learn almost everything he needed to know about someone 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.
Shred your trash
I’ve known about this for a while, but this reminded me that everyone doesn’t think this way. Most people think “Toss something in the garbage and it’s gone.” Poof! Wrong.
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.
I recommend shredding (or burning, if applicable) anything with this information:
Your name and address
tear off and shred shipping labels from boxes receipts
Bills 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.
I have a large trash can in the garage and every time I dump in more shreddings, I 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! Shred your trash Shred your trash 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! Be vigilant!
About the author: John writes GeekPrepper.org. John is a normal guy who, together with his family, is learning about preparedness, bushcraft, survival and self-sufficiency.
1 Comment on Some Simple Vigilance, Shred Your Trash
I shred all my unneeded documents as well as extra flyers and put them into my compost bin, immediately dump a layer of kitchen food waste on top and some manure if I have any hanging around then wet it down. It’ll take someone very determined to want to work through that mess. Plus, I get lots of great compost fast.