Have you ever been the victim of identity theft? If so, you know what a huge hassle it is – not to mention how unsettling it is to have your privacy invaded. If you haven’t, you definitely don’t want to experience it. That’s why it’s important to shred documents that have any of your personal information on them.
Identity Theft Is No Joke
The FTC estimates that recovering from identity theft takes an average of six months and 200 hours of work. That means victims will spend about a total of 200 hours making phone calls, writing correspondence, keeping track of creditors, responding to letters, working with credit bureaus and law enforcement agencies, and taking any other actions required to ensure they won’t be liable for debts falsely created in their names. And in 2017, there were 16.7 million victims of identity fraud. This was a record high number that the record set the year before. So it’s clear that this is a problem that’s not going away any time soon.
Of course, unless you’re living under a rock, you can’t be completely safe from identity theft. But making the effort to shred important documents will greatly improve the chances that you won’t be a victim of this latest crime.
Shred Documents to Provide Peace of Mind
Of course, you want to get rid of documents with your personal information. This includes ANYTHING with your full name and address, home or work telephone numbers, and/or driver’s license number.
Some documents you may not have considered are:
- Tax returns (over three years old)
- Bank statements
- Canceled or voided checks
- Pay stubs
- Convenience checks
Also, keep in mind that identity thieves don’t care whose identity they’re stealing. If they happen upon your child’s Social Security number, it’s fair game. So be sure to shred any mail concerning your children, such as their medical records, copies of birth certificates, school applications, report cards and even permission slips you’ve authorized for field trips.
And finally, don’t forget about junk mail. The computer barcodes on the front of most junk mail could contain personally identifying information. So run your junk mail through the shredder. This includes mail from insurance companies/lenders or any membership organizations, as well as credit card offers and any return envelopes that come with these mailings.
Shredding Is Environmentally Friendly
Beyond just the security measures you’re taking for yourself in putting all of those documents through the shredder, you’re taking additional security measures for the planet. Shredding your paper waste is going to be easier to recycle. And since paper can be recycled up to seven times and still be used, this means considerably less cutting down of trees.
Plus, all the excess waste created from simply throwing away paper just causes the landfills to fill up faster.
Are You a Target?
The truth is, anyone with a social security number is a target for identity thieves. But if you shred documents with important information, they’re far less likely to catch up with you.
Don’t worry. If it all feels too overwhelming, then contact us today to learn more about our secure off-site and on-site document shredding services for business or check out our free shred events for personal use. Stay safe.