Anybody who works for a company that handles private, sensitive data will admit that certain of the most basic things a person can do when it comes to data security is to properly dispose of sensitive data once it serves its purpose once they are through with it. Simply throwing confidential data within the trash can open a business or a person up to serious liability.
Any paperwork simply added too the trash opens up an enormous liability just because a person can simply pick with the garbage and obtain information like social security numbers / credit card numbers / etc. If an individual steals someone's identity which is later revealed that this really is due to careless handling of sensitive information with a company, that company could be sued, and for lots of money.
Of course, this philosophy doesn't just apply to large companies, individuals should be mindful in the proper disposal of the paperwork too. People can just as easily root with an individual's trash and obtain the information they have to open up credit lines and do some serious harm to an individual's credit score.
The easiest way to avoid data from being stolen would be to control how documents are discarded, and also the easiest way to do this is to purchase a paper shredder. Paper shredders are available in many styles, from simple trash-can mounted home shredders that can five or six pages at a time, to larger, heavy-duty paper shredders that can dozens of pages or more at a time.
Shredders often cut in either a ribbon or a crosscut pattern. Ribbon pattern shredders cut papers into thin strips, and cross cut shredders cut paper into tiny little pieces. Cross cut is definitely safer, but a person would need to spend a significant amount of effort attempting to come up with pages cut apart by a ribbon-cut shredder. Either type of shredder may be used to destroy confidential paperwork, but for the price, a paper shredders will pay for itself tenfold whether it prevents someone from stealing information.
Paper shredders are essential for just about any application where confidentiality is involved, from individuals having to shred personal documents, to companies having to shred thousands of papers a year. These come in many styles and capacities, and all do a sufficient job of destroying confidential data. Realistically, if a person or company must dispose of paperwork with as much as a name or address on it, it may be in their interest to shred it.