OK, OK, so I'm hung up on identity theft. Everyone should know that almost 9 million households were victims in 2011, the last recorded data.
But I did run across a helpful article in Good Housekeeping about what it calls super shredders. The piece features five of the top shredders that help to protect your private information from Sam Scum. (This bad guy and his equally bad buddies are always on the prowl.) Shredders that cross-cut rather than strip-cut offer greater protection, and many of the newer models feature jam-proof technology and safety sensors, among other enhancements.
• Black & Decker offers two of the five recommendations. First is the Studio Shredder, which chews 16 sheets at once. Stylish and lightweight, it's ideal for small spaces and even rolls to wherever it is needed. It costs a measly $48.
• The second Black & Decker model is the BD10P, a true power shredder. Good Housekeeping's tests prove this powerful model quickly cuts 800 sheets at a time and is a steal at $80.
• The Fellowes Powershred 73CI's best feature is safety for kids and pets, because it shuts off automatically if the paper slot is touched. At $200, this model doesn't jam.
• Ativa MD Pro 1200 is almost completely silent and even has handles for ease of movement. The cost is $190. Look, too, at the MD 1200 for $90, which is almost as quiet, plus signals the user when it's time to empty.
• And finally the speed demon. At $70, the Royal CX80 goes through 28 feet of paper per minute (compared to the norm of 16 sheets).
But perhaps you don't wish to buy a shredder of your own. What then?
Several companies offer services, particularly for smaller loads, including UPS, Staples, Office Depot, and some FedEx locations. For larger local jobs, contact Cintas at 423-529-0909 (www.profiles.cintas.com) or A Shred Ahead at 423-443-3985 (www.ashredahead.com).
Ellen Phillips is a retired English teacher who has written two consumer-oriented books. Her Consumer Watch column appears every Saturday.