While letters from friends and family aren’t as common as they used to be, it’s still likely that you’re receiving plenty of mail at your home or business. Much of it is junk, or offers you don’t need, but there’s still likely to be some personal identifiable information (PII) contained in that mail. As a result it’s still a good practice to shred all your mail, most of which can be done with a home shredder, but there are situations where a mail shredding service is worth the money.
When to Shred Mail at Home
The good news for most individuals when it comes to mail shredding is that the vast majority, if not all of it, can be done with a home shredder. The only exception being items that contain plastic, are laminated, or contain something that could damage the blades of a standard home shredder.
Common mail items you can shred at home include:
- Junk Mail
- Old Bills
- Old Letters
When to Use a Mail Shredding Service
On the other hand, there are times when either the volume of mail or the contents of the mail are better served by a mail shredding service. On the volume side of the equation, businesses that receive a lot of mail, particularly those still running on paper contracts and/or invoices, might find a mobile or drop-off shredding service more efficient than trying to shred everything by hand in a personal shredder.
However, businesses should make sure they’re following retention guidelines when it comes to the storage and destruction of contracts and invoices.
For individuals, determining if a mail shredding service is the right option generally comes down to two components, security and the physical material of the mail.
The first component, security, will involve things that contain highly sensitive PII, like a social security number or bank account number. While a home shredder will generally do a good job of rendering this information indecipherable, a professional shredding service will be able to do a better job of completely destroying the information.
The second component is what the actual document or mail is made of. Standard paper runs through a shredder just fine, but anything containing metal, plastic, or even cardboard can cause serious damage to a home shredder over time. In these cases, it’s best to use a mail shredding service that operates industrial shredders.
How to Identify What Mail has PII
While most mail will of course contain your address and name, which is PII, that is generally less of a concern with mail, as it already tends to be at your address. However, mail can contain a variety of highly sensitive PPI that should always be shredded securely. Sensitive PII in mail includes:
- Social Security Numbers
- Passport Numbers
- Driver’s License Numbers
- Taxpayer Identification Numbers
- Patient Identification Numbers
- Financial Account Numbers
- Credit Card Numbers
- Personal Telephone Numbers
- VIN or Title Numbers of your vehicle
- Employment Information
- Medical Information
- Financial Information
Find a Mail Shredding Service with Shred Nations
Shred Nations works with a nationwide network of partners that provide a range of shredding services for individuals and businesses. Whether it’s your mail, old business documents, or anything that can be shred, Shred Nations has you covered. Give us a call at (800) 747-3365 or fill out the form on the page, and we’ll find a secure shredding solution that works for you in just minutes.