First you have to read this: The Torn-Up Credit Card Application Then you have to go here to see the results: TORN-UP CREDIT CARD APPLICATIONS AREN'T SAFE But this here proves that a shredder is no better unless you take a second step that I came across online. plus a few steps I outline below Read this: First three sentences of the fourth paragraph read:
This was the situation up until November 1979 when Iranian students seized an entire archive of CIA and State Department documents, which represented one of the most extensive losses of secret data in the history of any modern intelligence service. Even though many of these documents were shredded into thin strips before the Embassy, and CIA base, was surrendered, the Iranians managed to piece them back together. They were then published in 1982 in 54 volumes under the title "Documents From the U.S. Espionage Den", and are sold in the United States for $246.50.
Today ... The technology now exists to scan fragments of documents en-mass and piece them together semi-automatically in electronic format. Some human interaction is still required, but it is much faster and easier than the Iranian effort. It was said somewhere on the internet that the Iranian students laid out the shredded documents on the floor of gymnasiums and pieced the documents back together. The electronic way of doing this today is being done to restore ancient manuscripts but I'm sure it's being done in the covert and criminal fields as well with shredded documents.
So what is that step you can do to protect yourself a little better? When you shred documents you have a tendency to shred all at once, and then discard all of the shredded docs at the same time in one or two bags. Don't shred in this matter. I say shred it at the same time but if you have some serious docs that if they got into the wrong hands it could be real trouble... I say grab a few hand full's of the shredded material, and place these in a separate bag for disposal at a later date. Or take a few hand full's of the shredded material, and mix it in with the next batch of shredded material, grabbing you a hand full from each batch. You can always burn this material after shredding this. But most people live in areas where you can't burn. Unless you know where a local consumer incinerator is located, and can afford to use it, then you can't burn. You could add a new step to the extra material like throwing scrap foods, or even cheap cleaners, or even bleach. Any liquid other than water unless you plan to stir up a brew of paste out of the shredded material. Just be creative with it. Placing a small amount in each nights trash, is also a good idea, then discard what is left of the bag at a later date. OH! Using the shredded material in kitty litter boxes, and kennels is also a wise choice.