Though it may seem like a hassle, taking the time to shred your personal documents is very important. After all, according to LifeLock, it could take up to a month and in extreme cases up to 1,200 hours to recover from identity theft. 1 How would you rather spend your time? Review the following frequently asked questions to determine if we can convince you to shred your personal documents.
Do thieves really go through trash?
Thieves will stop at nothing to get the information they’re looking for, and yes, that includes going through your garbage. And while it may not be the most pleasant way to get your info, once your trash hits the curb, it’s legally considered public property. 2 It’s illegal if the thief does something with the information they uncover, but there’s nothing to stop them from finding it.
Can an old utility bill be used to steal my identity?
Your name and address are enough information to act as a gateway to other critical personal information. Clever thieves can then use the internet to look up, and sometimes purchase, your phone number, residency records, employment history, and more. It’s like putting together a personal identity puzzle. Depending on what they’re able to find, it could provide information for the answers to verification questions and passwords, thus gaining access to accounts or financial records.
Are there any other reasons I should shred?
Of course! Not only are you protecting yourself from possible identity theft (and a lot of headaches), but you’re also reducing the clutter in your home—eliminating a HUGE fire hazard all while keeping recyclable materials from ending up in a landfill. (Also, no paper cuts.)
What’s the best way to safely dispose of my paperwork?
The most secure method to dispose of personal documents is through a document destruction provider. Financial and medical institutions place confidential documents locked and tamper-proof receptacles for heavily monitored, regulated destruction. But don’t worry, you don’t have to rent a truck or hire a company for your personal document destruction.
Vantage is happy to once again host a Shred Day for our members. It’s important to us that you’re protected from possible identity theft! Not sure what you should or shouldn’t toss? This infographic from the FTC gives a good look at what/when you can toss certain documents.
As an added bonus, St. Louis BWorks will be on hand to accept bicycles that you no longer need or use.
Get ready to shred your documents and recycle your bicycles!
1 Source: LifeLock
2 California v. Greenwood – 486 U.S. 35, 108 S. Ct. 1625 (1988)