Documents to Shred: Prevent Identity Theft
Identity Theft is becoming very easy, as personal information is more readily available on computers. Though some identity thieves still go about taking personal information the old-fashioned way – through paper statements and bills. One way to prevent these scoundrels from stealing your information is to work pro-actively. Don’t just toss your bills and paperwork into the garbage. Keep a box for the following papers and shred them when you can. This way, you’ll never have to stress over thieves stealing your identity from these documents again.
Documents Containing Financial Information
An identity thief can use any mail or documents that come from a financial institution. Keeping your own copies for bank and credit card statements for personal record-keeping is a good habit to keep, though you only need to keep statements for three years. Anything older than three years can be shredded. You should also shred canceled checks (full account numbers are present on these) and any purchase receipts for online orders that contain your bank account information.
Documents that Contain Personal Information
All personal information is what identity thieves are after. Your birthday and social security number are invaluable. Shredding any documents with this personal information is always a good idea. Other personal information thieves may be after are your full name, address, driver’s license number, and phone numbers. It is also a good idea to shred any travel materials (keep your passport).
Documents that Contain Account Information
ID thieves often try to steal account numbers, usernames, passwords, and card numbers. You should shred any printed mail with this info, such as statements, property tax statements, and bills.
Documents you may Think are Junk
Junk mail is no fun to deal with, but this type of mail typically has a computer bar code on the front that can contain personal information.
Make sure to shred any credit card offers, mail from insurance or lender companies, membership offers, and letters from associations, as well as the envelopes they come in.
Documents that are Child Related
Identity thieves will target even the youngest members of the family. Any mail concerning your child should be shredded. There are many documents you may receive, including doctor’s letters, school information, report cards, school applications, and bank statements for their accounts.
Keep an original file of their birth certificate locked away, as well as their Social Security Card, but make sure to shred any copies made.
One good way to protect your items is to buy a fire-safe lock box for your home. Another great option to protect your documents would be a safety-deposit box. We offer storage options at IAACU, and we also have a member shred day to help you protect your identity. This year’s shred day, in the IAACU South Parking Lot, is set for Wednesday, October 23rd, from 12 p.m. to 3 p.m.