Protecting Your Privacy
Top 10 Documents You Should Be Destroying
The papers that pile up on your desk, the junk mail that clogs up your mailbox and the papers casually thrown away in the trash…these documents may contain sensitive information that predators can gain access to and use to steal your identity or fraud your financial assets. In order to protect yourself from would-be thieves, it’s critical to properly secure private documents and destroy those you no longer need.
For maximum privacy, you should shred any item that contains personal information, including your name, address, phone number, account information, social security number, passwords/PINS, birth date or signature.
So just what documents should you be securely disposing of? Some may shock you. Here are the Top 10 documents you should be shredding:
- Documents from your Financial Institution. In addition to shredding bank statements you no longer need, you're encouraged to destroy ATM receipts and withdrawal and deposit slips that contain valuable account information.
- Credit Card Statements. Utilize online banking to access credit card and account statements; even consider going paperless. But if you want to be safe, securely hold onto paper statements for a year max.
- Old Credit Cards. Destroy any old or closed credit cards that you’re no longer using. But don’t just cut them up – properly dispose of them to kept your information protected.
- Pay stubs. You should hold onto pay stubs for at least one year, any older than that you should get rid of. Pay stubs contain social security numbers and other important information.
- Medical Records and Bills. These records contain personal information that should be shredded when you no longer feel you need them, or once bills have been settled.
- Boarding Passes. This might be one you didn’t know about. Those old boarding passes left in the seat backs of planes or casually thrown away can be used to access information such as your passport number, birth date and nationality.
- Junk Mail. Most junk mail only gets a quick glance before being thrown in the trash, but you should look closer. Pre-approved credit card applications or courtesy checks from your bank should be destroyed. If you’re not sure, shred it!
- Tax Records. According to the IRS, you should keep tax records for 3 years. Beyond that, any documents should be shredded.
- Insurance Statements. These documents are jackpots for identity thieves. Keep secured records as long as your policy is active, plus five years, then destroy.
- Social Security Statements. This one might be obvious, but it’s important! Properly dispose of old statements; you really only need to hold onto the most recent version.
To help you protect yourself, you’re invited to take advantage of FREE SHREDDING on Saturday, October 31st, from 9:00 a.m. to 1:00 p.m. at all Point Breeze Credit Union locations.
Come shred your documents at any of these three locations:
- Hunt Valley: 11104 McCormick Road, Hunt Valley, MD 21031
- Rosedale: 2 Philadelphia Court, Baltimore, MD 21237
- Bel Air: 410 S. Atwood Road, Bel Air, MD 21014
Shredding is open to anyone. Point Breeze Credit Union just requests that you bring non-perishable food items to support our efforts to "Shred Hunger." All donations will be given to the Maryland Food Bank.
For more information, contact us at 410.584.7228.