Monday, November 30, 2009
How to increase security with a cheap strip-shredder
A few days ago I sent out a mass e-mail to those on my privacy list, warning my readers that strip shredders may not be as secure as they thought. This is because some PIs are now hiring retired persons to put the strips together using a special clipboard tool. (My instructions were to never shred just one or two pieces of important paper—these might be fairly easy to reassemble. Better to shred a number of other unimportant sheets as well and then mix the shredded material all up. Dump half in this week’s trash and the other half next week.)
I received some interesting responses. Here’s a dandy from Laurel from Redondo Beach, California:
“My brother-in-law was hired along with a bunch of other people to ‘spy’ on a certain company that was doing ‘backward’ activities. This company was located in a building with other businesses. My brother-in-law law said that his boss leased a suite next door to the ‘suspect’ company, in another name of course, and set up surveillance. His boss also put together a cleaning bid on the entire building for a made-up cleaning company. The bid was so low that it out bid all the other applicants for the job. They were hired! They took out the trash and cleaned EVERY office in the building just so they could collect the trash from that one office. They had the key to the office now!
“They tapped the phones and put microphones all around the office. They collected all the shredding as well as the regular trash … then they pieced together all the
shredding. Yes, they did do this! They had pages and pages and pages of this.
Eventually they had enough evidence to get them shut down and put in jail.
“On another note—my mom and I took our own shredding to the local park and burned it in the barbecues along with charcoal. We would bring hot dogs and roast weenies while putting handfuls of shredding in the fire. We would do this on days when no one would be there. When we were asked by the park worker why there was so much smoke we told him that we had brought some fire wood and that some of it must have been wet or still green…. I eventually bought a fire pit for my back yard and we burned the shredding there, careful to not create too much smoke to alarm the neighbors.
“Another GREAT thing you can do with it is pour water in the shredding bag before throwing it away. You can't piece together soaking wet paper. It turns to mush. You can also throw in your coffee grounds and then some to make sure it discolors and possibly starts to mold. LOL!”
And here’s another response, from Hamlet in Washougal, WA. A warning for us all!
“My mother (bless her soul) once shredded an important medical receipt. Upon discovering her mistake, she took the pieces and, while watching the Larry King show, put the puzzle back together. She was so proud of her work when she finished!”