To shred or not to shred: That is the question

Some surprising items you SHOULD shred

It’s one of life’s greatest questions: to shred or not to shred? There are certain documents which we all know need to be shredded—things like bank statements and pay stubs. But when it comes to protecting your personal information, there are actually quite a few more documents which should be shredded.

As a general rule of thumb, if it has a signature, account number, medical or legal information, or your social security number on it, then shred it. There are exceptions to the rule, however. Here are a few specific and surprising items that need to be shredded:

Resumes. Does an identity thief really care that you spent three years working at Walgreens during college? Maybe. Think about it. Your employment history AND name, phone number, address, email address and education history are all conveniently located in this one document. Get it securely shredded.

Receipts. Not all receipts need to be shredded, but all receipts from credit card purchases should be shredded. These receipts often include the last four digits of your card number, and sometimes your signature. Start shredding these to keep that info secure.

Boarding tickets. It’s all too easy to toss your used boarding pass into an airport garbage and be on your way. The problem is that it’s then all too easy for someone to grab that pass and see your name and travel plans. The barcode on the pass can also easily be deciphered online to reveal things like your frequent flier number. Get it securely shredded—unless you want someone logging into your account and canceling your next getaway.

Prescription labels. Prescription medication bottles should never just be thrown away. First, any leftover pills should be taken to a drug collection site. The second step is just as important: remove the label containing your name, the drug name and pharmacy info. If you don’t shred this, you’re at risk of someone stealing your drugs and/or your identity.

Junk mail. Junk mail usually goes straight from the mailbox to the trash can. But it might be time to give it a second thought. You don’t have to read it, but you do have to shred it. Pre-approved credit card applications definitely need to be shredded, but so do many included return envelopes which feature a barcode with personally identifiable information. In general, you should also leave your name off of return addresses when you’re mailing out.

Protecting information is important, whether it’s your own or your company’s. That’s why it helps to have document experts on your side; experts who can advise you about what needs to be destroyed; when it needs to be destroyed and can carry it out in a confidential and professional manner. Stevens & Stevens offers complete destruction of documents through secure shredding; in compliance with disposal regulations. Learn more here.

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  1. […] might not think there’s anything important on a prescription label, but you’d be mistaken to believe such a thing. Thieves can use the information on your […]