It is not secret that ill-meaning people can gain a lot of information about you from the documents that you toss in the trash can. Not only those intending to steal your identity, but also those who want to know more about you. One statistic states that the United States Postal Service (USPS) delivers more than 150 billion pieces of mail a year, and almost all of that mail contains personal information. The biggest threat to this personal information ending up in the wrong hands isn’t interception before delivery, but individual’s tossing it out as junk mail. To help keep your personal information private and out of the hands of the wrong person, here are a few tips on what to shred and what to toss.
Anything that comes from your bank or a financial institution, to include student loan, credit card carrier, investment accounts, tax information for employer retirement accounts. If you keep records for yourself, always be sure they are kept in a secure area, such as a safe or a locked filing cabinet. The general rule of thumb for storing financial documents is only keep them for three years. After that, all of the above mentioned documents should be shredded. They should never be tossed in the trash can, even if you tear them up. People who are looking to steal identities often start with financial documents.
Most people don’t give junk mail a second thought, and a lot of people never even open it. Often, they will toss it immediately into the trash can and move on with life. However, this can be incredibly dangerous. Pre-approved offers are sent by lenders, such as credit card offers, can easily be completed and returned and then the criminal just has to wait to intercept your new card that you have no idea about. Many junk mail offers are sent to target demographics, and memberships can also be intercepted through junk mail. You’ll end up footing the bill while someone else is reaping the benefits of a AAA or AARP membership!
While tossing out the Toys R Us coupon you got in the mail will likely not have any ill effects — and may even benefit someone who is digging through the trash — tossing out anything with personal information can have devastating consequences. Individually a document with your birthday may not seem like a big deal, but coupled with a piece of mail with the last four numbers of your social security number, and another one with your driver’s license number could spell big trouble. To be on the safe side, never throw away anything with personal information, including: social security number, account numbers, full name, birthday, driver’s license information, itineraries, or travel documents.
While we don’t want you to live your life as if you are the next victim in Kiss the Girls we do want you to protect yourself as much as you can. If someone wants to steal your identity, make them work for it, much harder than collecting up your trash. If you are looking for a reputable shredding company to take all of your confidential documents and personal mail to be destroyed, contact us at Shred 2 You, the premier mobile shredding company serving the Santa Maria area. We look forward to protecting your personal information soon!