Documents People Forget Need To Be Shredded

Documents People Forget Need To Be Shredded

It may seem that paper documents have become less significant. However, the need to securely dispose of sensitive paper documents remains crucial to protecting your privacy and preventing identity theft. While most people know to shred documents like bank statements and tax returns, there are other less obvious documents that also require careful handling. Here’s a look at some documents you may not realize need to be shredded.

1. Old Identification Cards

Expired driver’s licenses, old employee badges, or membership cards often contain personal details that can be used for fraudulent purposes. Even though these cards may no longer be valid, they carry information that can help someone impersonate you.

2. Travel Itineraries

Boarding passes and travel itineraries include your name travel dates, and often include partial credit card information. Thieves can use this information to deduce when your home might be empty, posing a burglary risk, or use your travel loyalty program details fraudulently.

3. Prescription Labels

Used prescription bottles and their labels contain personal medical information that could be misused. Discarding them intact could give away details about your health conditions, prescribed medications, and your doctor’s identity.

4. Pet Veterinary Records

Similar to human medical records, veterinary records for your pets can inadvertently leak personal details through invoices and prescription details. These might also include your contact information, potentially exposing you to scams.

5. Old Resumes

Resumes are often updated and revised without much thought given to the disposal of previous versions. These documents contain a wealth of personal information, including contact details, employment history, educational background, and sometimes even personal references.

6. Junk Mail

All too often, pre-approved credit card offers, insurance solicitations, and other types of junk mail are tossed into the garbage without a second thought. However, these can be gold mines for identity thieves who use them to fill out credit applications in your name.

7. School Records

Report cards, enrollment forms, and other school-related documents contain personal information that could be used in identity theft. These documents often have birth dates, addresses, and sometimes social security numbers.

8. Receipts

While not all receipts need to be shredded, they should be to play it safe. Many contain full payment information, partial credit card numbers, or your signature should be destroyed. These receipts can be pieced together to clone your credit card or initiate fraudulent transactions.

9. Utility Bills

Utility bills might seem harmless, but they often contain account numbers, personal addresses, and sometimes financial information. They can be used to establish proof of address in fraudulent situations.

Shredding Best Practices

To ensure your personal information remains secure, follow these best practices for shredding documents:

  1. Consistency: Make it a habit to have documents shredded regularly rather than letting them pile up.
  2. Professional Shredding Service: The pros have commercial shredders that cut paper into confetti-sized pieces, making it nearly impossible to piece them back together.
  3. Community Shred Events: Take advantage of local shred events. These are often hosted by banks or local municipalities.

By understanding the scope of documents that require shredding and implementing regular habits to manage your paper trail, you can significantly decrease the risk of identity theft and maintain your privacy.