Since 2020, fraud cases have risen by an estimated 70%. If you don’t go above and beyond to protect your data, cybercriminals can steal your benefits, tank your credit score or commit crimes in your name. You’ll need strong cybersecurity practices and identity theft protection devices to stay safe.
Let’s start with what you should do online. To throw off digital identity thieves, use unique passwords, message encryption and software updates. Tap or click here for six ways to prevent identity theft.
However, you shouldn’t overlook physical cybersecurity threats. For instance, snail mail contains a ton of private data criminals would love to get their hands on. Use these four personal security devices to thwart identity thieves.
1. Paper shredders are some of the best identity theft protection devices
These home office essentials do more than reduce clutter. They can safely destroy sensitive documents, like medical records, legal reports, banking statements or expired ID cards. If you throw these documents away without shredding them, thieves could dig through your trash and find private data.
That’s right: Dumpster diving is alive and well. Identity thieves could find your full name, address or Social Security number. Tap or click here for five ways a thief can use your Social Security number. Luckily, you can easily prevent this threat by shredding private documents.
Best paper shredders for different budgets
If you have less than $50 to spend, check out Amazon Basics. You can save money on expensive electronics when you buy Amazon versions of popular products. Tap or click here to save money on USB cables, security safes, trash cans and other essentials.
This Amazon Basics paper shredder can cut up paper and credit cards.
This next paper shredder offers more features like SafeSense Protection. When you touch the paper opening, the shredder turns off. In other words, this device will protect more than just your identity — it can also save your skin!
Want to go one step further? Try the following tool.
2. A composting bin can break down papers that contain sensitive information
Instead of throwing your shredded documents in the trash, throw them into a compost bin! That way, they’ll break down into dirt and mulch, so identity thieves won’t have anything to find in your trash bin.
Want to learn more? A helpful site called Zero Waste Memoirs breaks down everything you need to know. (Pun intended.) Check out this complete guide to paper composting.
To get started, here are the best composting bins on Amazon for different budgets
One of the best options is the Utopia Kitchen Stainless Steel Compost Bin. For less than $30, you can break down kitchen scraps and small bits of shredded paper. Its charcoal filter controls odors so you can cut down on waste without the nasty smells.
Here’s another affordable option. It’s smaller than the first on this list, but it’s a tidy gadget for composting food waste. With it, you won’t have to set up an outdoor garden to keep surplus food out of landfills.
The FCMP outdoor tumbling composter comes with a higher price and extra features. Set it up outside to break down food waste without having to dig or mix compost piles by hand.
It’s easy to use, which makes it excellent for beginners. Just throw your food and shredded paper inside and turn it six times every three days. Use it to reduce greenhouse gases, reduce waste and break down sensitive documents.
This electric compost bin can quickly transform shredded documents into fertilizer. It neutralizes odors, runs quietly, automatically cleans itself and gives you peace of mind since you know criminals can’t find your secrets in the trash bin.
3. Cheap rollers are useful identity theft protection devices
Old tax returns, W-2s, credit card applications and other documents can put your data in danger. Sure, you can shred those papers. But if you don’t have a shredder, you can buy a hand-sized roller stamp.
According to reviews, these affordable devices are easy to use and surprisingly effective. You roll it over sensitive documents, which leaves inky overlapping letters over private information. Miseyo’s roller set comes in eight colors: yellow, white, black, blue, green, red, pink and purple.
These $10 gadgets stamp around 100 meters of ink. You can always buy refills when you run out. They’re small, which makes them a tidy alternative for people without room for shredders or compost bins.
4. You can also use box openers as identity theft protection devices
Here’s another way to cover sensitive documents, medicine bottles and packages. This two-in-one device can open letters and packages while blotting out your private information. It comes with a complimentary bottle of ink.