I do worry about ID theft. So Mrs S and I are busy destroying documents prior to our departure from Canada. It’s amazing how much paperwork you accumulate in thirteen years. Powers of attorney, copies of this, copies of that and so forth.
So much paper, particularly legal documents, have to be disposed of. So we’re doing what Embassies do when they need to get rid of documents. We pulp.
Pulp old documents you no longer need? Isn’t that a bit extreme Bill? Well yes and no. We scanned all the important stuff and will be putting less replaceable items like birth certificates, originals of legal documents such as SIN cards, Citizenship certificates and so on in our personal baggage, securely packed and labelled. A customs agent will know not to bother with these things if our baggage gets selected for search as sometimes happens. They are looking for contraband, not documents, so we’re on safe ground as close to ‘safe’ as can be done.
Yes, I know our plane could fall from the sky, and as I posted previously there is so much else to go AWOL, but honestly if things get that bad we’re all dead anyway. Then our wills kick in and that’s all taken care of except for funerals for our shattered remains, so, there you go.
So why are we pulping instead of shredding? Good question. Well, (Coughs in a faintly embarrassed manner) I managed to blow up the shredder. My bad. Our hitherto reliable shredder just gave up the ghost one morning when I was feeding paper into it’s noisy maw. A cog was stripped, smoke was coming from the motor, so that was that. Past economic repair. We thought about replacing it, but thought “Two hundred dollars for something we only need for a month or so?” and “That’s a lot of money to shred paper of limited value.” when we looked at the opition of sending it to be shredded by someone else. As for incineration, this is BC, getting a burn permit would have us besieged by the Green party and every eco whack-a-loon in the district until we ran out of money to pay lawyers.
Thus we set up a simple process. Soaking tank, pulping machine and drainage. For a tank we set up one of those heavy duty plastic boxes and filled it half way with a 5% solution of bleach and white vinegar to help the paper break down, then ripped the documents we wanted to shred into strips and threw them into the solution. Every day for the last two weeks I’ve been taking the solution soaked paper strips and chucking them in an old food processor for about sixty seconds and change to turn the wet paper into a rather disgusting looking grey porridge. Then dropping the pulp into a sieve over a bucket to drain for a few hours before dumping the damp pulp into a bin bag and our bin for disposal.
Old bank, credit cards and VPN tabs got cut up, partially burned and the bits thrown into different bin bags just to make life ultra difficult for anyone who wanted to get their hands on our account details and any written down passwords. As the job that I recently lost involved dealing with financial matters and gave me control of two corporate credit cards and a few other bits and pieces, we did a number on them so any person wishing to get hold of those details would need more resources available than the average ID thief. Bar codes, chips, mag stripes all got seared with a lighter and chopped into small, heat distorted pieces to prevent any form of reconstruction.
I suppose we could have put all these records in a box and dragged them behind us, but frankly there’s no need of them where we’re going and all the records can be accessed elsewhere. Then all the paper would be an extra cost on the moving bill and we have striven mightily to pare that down to the minimum necessary.
Yes I know it all sounds a little extreme, but I like to think of it this way; if you have just enough paranoia, you don’t get any nasty surprises.