Thursday, June 10, 2010 Posted by Dina N
One of the things I do is check out my credit report regularly. The thing is, once something irregular shows up there, your personal information is already in the wrong hands. So, an ounce of prevention: shred paperwork that includes important personal details, such as your social security number, credit card numbers, and checking account information.
I go a step further and shred credit card offers, old credit cards, store receipts, anything that can be of any use to an identity thief. It's important to have a decent shredder at home, so that I am not tempted to toss any sensitive paperwork in the recycling bin. Well, I do recycle it - AFTER I shred it.
I recently tried the new Fellowes P-8C deskside paper shredder. This compact little thing fits easily under the desk in my home office. I can even hide it in a filing cabinet, if I want. It's a cross-cut shredder that reduces paper documents into more than 300 particles per sheet and destroys credit cards, paper clips and staples without jamming. Since I have kids at home, one of my favorite features is the patented Safety Lock that disables the shredder for added safety. All you have to do is push down and slide it to lock after you are done with the shredding. I also like it that the on / off switch is on the back - easy to get to yet hidden from little eyes and fingers.
The shredder is intended for home use, and takes up to 8 sheets of regular paper at a time. One of the most important things to ensure smooth operation is to never feed into the machine more that the maximum number of sheets. I usually don't feel like counting, so I shred 3-5 at a time. If a sheet of paper is folded, it counts as more than one, of course - fold it in 4, then it's four times thicker. It's good to remember this if you are shredding mail without opening the envelope and unfolding its content. The slot for paper is pretty narrow - another good feature. If you are trying to insert too much paper at the same time, it simply won't fit. If you do manage to push it in and it does get stuck, the handy reverse button helps to get the paper out.
There is an indicator light that turns green when the shredder is in auto-on mode - that is, will start shredding as soon as it detects paper in the slot. When the machine overheats, another LED light turns red. The shredder can be used continuously for up to 5 minutes. If you try to use it longer than that, a cool down period of 15 minutes is triggered. For this reason, it is a good idea to avoid building a to-shred pile - just shred as you open your mail, for instance. That helps keep clutter under control at my house, too.
The ability to shred old credit cards with the Fellowes P-8C is very useful to me. The machine shreds one card at a time, and it needs to go in the center of the opening - this spot is clearly marked on the shredder. I got rid of old bank cards, club membership cards, and insurance cards with ease.
Another important thing you can do to ensure your shredder works well is to maintain it well. Empty the bin when full, and oil the shredding mechanism each time you do so. The company recommends using a non-aerosol vegetable oil in a long nozzle container, such as the Fellowes 35250.
If you are looking for a compact shredder for home use, check of the Fellowes P-8C. It has a suggested retail value of $59.99 and is available at Target stores nationwide.
Disclosure / Disclaimer: I received a complimentary shredder to facilitate this review. The opinions are my own and others' experience may differ. No monetary compensation was provided for this post.