Top 22 Most Important Documents To Shred
Identity theft can happen in many forms. One form, in particular, that is quite prevalent but easily avoidable is the procurement of sensitive documents from an individual’s garbage. Once something is thrown away, it is considered to be public property according to the U.S. Supreme Court. Anyone can legally dig through trash, and search for personal information such as credit card receipts, account numbers, and even social security numbers. Therefore, it is important to shred all-important personal information before tossing it out in order to prevent identity theft.
Types of Documents to Shred
Below, is a list of documents worth shredding before throwing out. When in doubt, a good rule of thumb is to shred anything containing signatures, account numbers, social security numbers, credit card offers, and any legal or medical information.
- 1) Bank statements
- 2) ATM receipts
- 3) Birth certificate copies
- 4) Address labels
- 5) Canceled and/or voided checks
- 6) Documents containing maiden names, addresses, phone numbers, email addresses, pin numbers and investment information.
- 7) Credit card bills, carbon copies, summaries and receipts
- 8) Credit scores
- 9) Driver’s licenses or driver’s license numbers
- 10) Legal documents
- 11) Identification cards
- 12) Pay stubs
- 13) Leases, contracts and letters containing signatures
- 14) Medical or dental records
- 15) Resumes
- 16) Tax forms
- 17) Luggage tags
- 18) Travel itineraries
- 19) Airplane ticket stubs
- 20) Utility bills
- 21) Report cards
- 22) Stock and property transactions
Types of Shredders
The type of shredder that is used is also important. Identity thieves can be quite crafty when stealing information, even going as far as to piece together shredded documents. Therefore, individuals ideally should invest in a shredder for both their homes and offices. Strongly consider purchasing a shredder that “cross-cuts,” or slices in two directions – this will make it difficult for identity thieves to piece together any personal information. If larger shredding jobs are needed, then consider hiring a commercial shredding company.
Recycling Shredded Documents
Although many cities do not allow shredded documents to be recycled, they can still be reused in a variety of different ways. Cross-cut shredded paper can be substituted for tissue paper in gift bags, or as shipping material. Shredded paper can also be reused as lining animals’ cages, as an addition to composting bins, and for children’s art projects. Check specific cities for their recycling policies.