Identity theft is in the news regularly. Did you know that the most common source of providing would-be thieves your personal information comes into your home almost daily? It is mail! Yes, it arrives in your mailbox and you bring it into your home and toss it into your wastebasket.
Types of Identity Theft
- Driver’s License
- Social Security
To learn more about the various theft types, I recommend reading, “The Many Different Types of Identity Theft” by Jake Stroup.
Certainly, I am guilty of going out and getting the mail out of the box. I bring it into the house, stand over the wastebasket, and toss the junk mail. Probably most of the time, I don’t even open the envelopes. For that reason, I researched just what should be shredded.
Above all, any mail with personally identifying information on it, whether you asked for it or not, should be shredded before it is tossed. Most important personal information includes signature, account number, social security number, or medical or legal information (plus credit offers).
What should you shred?
- Address labels from junk mail and magazines (because the barcode may contain identifying information)
- ATM receipts
- Bank statements
- Birth certificate copies
- Canceled and voided checks
- Credit and charge card bills, carbon copies, summaries and receipts
- Credit reports and histories
- Children’s mail containing your authorization for school field trips, school applications, and report cards
- Papers including the maiden name (used by credit card companies for security reasons)
- Documents containing names, addresses, phone numbers or e-mail addresses
- Statements relating to investments
- Papers containing passwords or PIN’s
- Driver’s licenses or items with a driver’s license number
- Employee pay stubs
- Employment records
- Expired passports and visas
- Unlaminated identification cards (college IDs, state IDs, employee ID badges, military IDs)
- Legal documents
- Investment, stock and property transactions
- Items with a signature (leases, contracts, letters)
- Luggage tags
- Medical and dental records
- Papers with a Social Security number
- Pre-approved credit card applications
- Receipts with checking account numbers
- Report cards
- Resumés or curriculum vitae
- Tax forms and related receipts (after the prescribed retention period has expired)
- Travel itineraries
- Used airline tickets
- Utility bills (telephone, gas, electric, water, cable TV, Internet)
Don’t become an identity theft victim!
Maybe you think that you should keep everything, just in case, remember those identity thieves can’t find documents you have destroyed. Therefore, destroying documents with your personal information reduces the likelihood of becoming a victim. SHRED!