Toss or Shred?

With all the horror stories out there about identity theft, it can feel like the best policy is to shred any document that has any tidbit of information about you. While you certainly do that if it makes you feel more secure, you don’t necessarily have to destroy every single thing. Rather than run down everything that should be shredded, it’s helpful to think of types of information that should be shredded instead of types of documents.

The information you want to make sure gets shredded is anything relating to:

  • Applications for credit
  • Date of birth
  • Driver’s license number
  • Financial institution or credit card account numbers
  • Insurance coverage information
  • Medical information
  • Mother’s maiden name
  • Passwords
  • PINs
  • Place of birth
  • Signatures
  • Social Security number

These are the main treasures identity thieves are looking to capture, so be aware of the presence of this information and deal with it accordingly. Quality crosscut shredders – the kind that dice your documents instead of just cutting them into strips that can be taped backed together – can be found for under $30, so it’s better to make that small investment than to be out thousands of dollars because of your information falling into the wrong hands.


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