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Ziszor Your Way to Identity Security

Apr 16, 2008 3:03 PM


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Sure, I’m as concerned as the next guy about identity theft. Perhaps one of the biggest security threats you face these days is that sneaky stranger who rifles through your garbage can in search of sensitive documents. This method of identity theft is low-tech but surprisingly successful. And if you have a publicly accessible mailbox, you’re in real trouble.

At my house, we’ve been shredding documents for years. And we’ve gone through several shredders in that time. We started with the typical strip-cut shredder, which made fun strips that the kids loved to play with but that determined bad guys could fairly easily reassemble into vulnerable documents. We graduated to a low-price cross-cut shredder, a noisy, jangly, bulky thing that rendered our documents into unrecognizable confetti but broke down rather quickly under the strain of a too-thick wad of paper one day. We’ve settled on another, more reliable (and more expensive) cross-cut shredder, and it gets the job done and makes us feel more secure about our garbage. But it can be a pain to break that bulky thing out and go through the ordeal of shredding weeks’ worth of accumulated documents.

A new handheld paper shredder called the Ziszor recently caught my eye. I have to admit, I loved the idea of a handheld, portable shredder that I could keep in the kitchen area—handy for immediately shredding unwanted mail, receipts, or random sensitive documents. I obtained a sample unit to try out over a period of a couple weeks.

The Ziszor arrived in a modest little box, and I put it together very quickly. Impressed by its handheld size and heft (about 10" long and weighing less than 1.5 pounds), I was eager to try it out right away. It’s a sleek, glossy, silver-and-red bullet-like beauty, and it fits perfectly into the hand. I loaded it with its four included AA batteries and affixed one of the included waste-collection catch-bags (disposable), which fit snugly but did, unfortunately and by necessity, diminish the “cool” factor of the Ziszor.

True to its marketing, the Ziszor is extremely easy to use, and it’s quite convenient. For the past week, I’ve kept it in our mail drawer and have found it handy for piece-by-piece shredding. Just feed the document in and stab the shredding trigger! Cool! As much as I valued the Ziszor’s easy of use, though, I did run up against some caveats. First, the device’s paper slot accommodates only 5 sheets at a time. That limitation is fine for receipts, but I found myself really needing to be able to shred whole envelopes of junk mail, whose folded papers amounted to far more than a 5-sheet width. The upshot was that for a lot of mail, I had to open the envelope and feed the papers into the device in small groupings. Second, even at the 5-sheet limit, the Ziszor’s shredding action—on its battery power—was laborious.

In the end, I appreciate the idea of the Ziszor more than its execution. There’s definite room for growth here, and I’m wondering whether the best solution would be to also provide an AC power pack for a big power improvement. The Zsisor’s price, at $39.50, actually competes with the price points of larger, more powerful shredders on the market, and it left me wanting more. Contact the Ziszor Web site for a purchase if the device’s portability really appeals to you, and for further details.



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