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What to Shred

What to Shred 

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White Greeting Card Organizer from the Container Store

White Greeting Card Organizer from the Container Store

Photo / Container Store
Wondering what to shred? The general rule is anything with the following information should be shred: account numbers, birth dates, maiden names, passwords and pins, signatures, and social security numbers. Again, those are no brainers.

Why Shred

Shredding documents is the main way to protect yourself from identity theft. (Read my interview with security expert Jay Foley on How to Protect Yourself From Identity Theft).  Here are the basics:

If documents are still "active" i.e., you need to hold onto them for reference (check out list of How Long to Keep Documents), and establish a simple home filing system. This means filing documents by topic and then shredding them once they are no longer in use.

What to Shred

ATM receipts

Bank statements

Birth certificate copies

Canceled and voided checks

Credit card bills

Credit reports

Driver’s licenses (expired)

Employment documents that have any identifying

Expired passports and visas

Investments account #s

Legal documents

Investment, stock and property transactions

Items with a signature (leases, contracts, letters)

Luggage tags

Medical and dental records

Papers with a Social Security number

Passwords or PIN numbers

Pay stubs

Pre-approved credit card applications

Receipts with checking account numbers, credit card numbers or any other identifying information

Tax forms

Transcripts with identifying information on them

Travel itineraries

Used airline tickets

Utility bills (telephone, gas, electric, water, cable TV, Internet)

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