Shredding sensitive documents is one of the oldest practices that have remained relevant over the last few decades. Due to the principal concern that crucial information could land into the wrong hands, shredding critical documents has survived the all-sweeping modern trends that have seen other ancient document handling habits out of the window.
As such, this article explores a number of reasons why documents ought to be shredded as well as a list of some essential documents that should be safely disposed of shortly after they have achieved their intended purpose. Continue reading to understand why destroying documents with a shredder is important and also know some delicate documents that ought to be routinely shredded.
Why you should shred documents
Statistics show that over 11 million people yearly fall victim to identity theft felonies worldwide. The same research shows that people from across the world lose up to $54 million to identity thieves every year. Some of these victims could have prevented this from happening if they had simply shredded their important documents.
If you’re a business its even more important to shred important documents. This is because those important documents could have customer information and employee information on them. Employees and clients both have the legal right to have this information protected.
If you do not know how to effectively shred your most important documents, I advise you to hire professional shredding services to destroy your documents securely and safely.
What should I shred?
It can be confusing trying to decide which documents you should shred and which documents are okay to hold onto. Below I’m going to list a large selection of items you should shred to make it easier on you.
Old Tax Returns
Many people keep their old tax returns hoping that the documents may be needed for auditing purposes. Although keeping documents for possible future use is a prudent idea, you should make sure that you securely keep your old tax papers away from anyone’s reach. After three years, make sure that you dispose of old tax paperwork using a shreder because they may land in the hands of identity thieves. After all, it is better to go through the inconveniences of not having your tax documents than to be conned by impersonators out there.
Old ID Copies
Many people don’t appear to know that their old ID copies can be used to impersonate them. However, you should make the habit of shredding your work IDs, college badges, National Identity cards, and any other related documents membership cards for that matter. Although the ID alone cannot be used to steal from you, the information it contains might be relied on by smart swindlers to misuse your identity. Make sure that you only photocopy your IDs only when you need the duplicates. If the person photocopier issues out more than the copies you need, immediately destroy the extra copies shredder.
Any banking related document should be properly shredded. Bank statements come first in this category of documents as they show your financial wherewithal. Robbers may even devise an atrocity such as burglary once they see that you have a lot of money in the bank. For instance, a person who has millions of cash in the bank most likely has valuable assets such as electronics in their house. In the same vein, these banking documents also have crucial personal details that can be used to plot a larger criminal scheme against you.
Remember that even a check on which you have written “void” can still be used against you by identity thieves and impersonators. The fact that the check is void does not mean that it still doesn’t contain sensitive info such as the bank routing number and your account number – without which it would be hard for anyone to steal your money. To avoid any chances of being swindled, make sure that you shred all canceled or void checks as soon as you get hold of it.
Pay stubs may look quite at a glance. However, many identity thieves have confessed to have used pay stubs to steal sensitive information such as the financial institution the victims use for banking services and their bank account numbers. As such, you should always remember to get rid of your pay stubs as soon as you are done using them.
Some credit card companies send their clients blank checks which they can use to borrow against their credit line. Such checks are referred to as convenience checks. Due to their delicate nature, you will be in trouble of these checks end up in the wrong hands. Use a shredder to properly dispose of all your convenient checks. Make sure that you shred them to very small pieces that can’t be used to get your personal details.
Other items you should shred:
- ATM Receipts
- Airline Tickets
- Birth Certificate Copies
- Credit Card Bills
- Credit Reports
- Documents Containing Maiden Names
- Investment Documents
- Documents Containing Pin Numbers and Passwords
- Expired Passports and Visas
- Employment Records
- Luggage Tags
- Papers with Social Security Numbers
- Report Cards
- Tax Forms
- Utility Bills
The best shredder for your home
If you don’t have a paper shredder you should look into getting one. It doesn’t matter if you’re a business owner or an employee, having a shredder around is always beneficial.
AmazonBasics 8-Sheet Strip-Cut Paper, CD and Credit Card Home Office Shredder
This is my preferred shredder for your home. It’s really affordable and a quality machine. The AmazonBasics 8 can shred up to 6 sheets of paper at a time making the shredding process quick and easy. It can be used to shred ATM cards (only one at a time) as well as paper.
The AmazonBasics 8 shreds paper into Cross cut paper providing a secure and quick shredding method.