Paper documents are everywhere. You have them at home or at work. You create them and receive them. Paper usage is still growing every year even with the advancements with paperless technology. So what needs to be shredded? The simple answer is destroy everything, here is why. Half of every document has some piece of information that is required by law to be shredded. So how do you decide? The time it will take to review each document would be great not to mention the possibility of making a mistake. Don’t waste your time or make a mistake, ensure you are in compliance with shredding laws, shred everything.
Many people are surprised to learn that someone can legally dig through their trash once it has been put out for pick up. The U.S. Supreme Court decision in California vs. Greenwood, found that there is no expectation of privacy in trash that is left for collection in an area accessible to the public. That means any document that you put in the regular garbage is available to anyone that wants to look through it.
Many security professionals recommend that you can shred many documents sooner than seven years.
If you are a person that likes to keep things just in case remember that identity thieves can’t get access to documents you have destroyed. Destroying documents with your personal information reduces the likelihood of becoming an identity theft victim. Depending on the type of document and its content will govern when it should be destroyed.
After paying credit card or utility bills, shred them immediately. Also, shred sales receipts, unless the items purchased have warranties. Sales and cash withdrawal receipts from ATM’s, junk mail credit card offers. Also, remove and shred pharmacy labels before throwing away the empty prescription bottles.
Within a year, destroy pay stubs, bank statements, and medical bills that have been paid.
No reason to keep old tax records longer that the IRS requires. Also shred any tax-related documents used to support those tax returns can also be destroyed.
Expired passports and driver’s licenses, copies of birth certificates, old insurance policies and resumes should be shredded.
Any documents that are permanent records need to be kept in a secure manner. Locked file rooms, locked file cabinets and safe deposit boxes are good options
Address labels from junk mail and magazines
All Discarded Copier Copies
Birth certificate copies
Canceled and voided checks
Credit and charge card bills, carbon copies, summaries and receipts
Credit reports and histories
Credit Cards (Expired)
Documents containing maiden name
Documents containing names, addresses, phone numbers or e-mail addresses
Documents relating to investments
Documents containing passwords or PIN numbers
Driver’s licenses or items with a driver’s license number
Employee pay stubs
Expired passports and visas
Investment, stock and property transactions
Items with a signature
Medical and dental records
Papers with a Social Security number
Pre-approved credit card applications
Receipts with checking account numbers
Resumés or curriculum vitae
Used airline tickets
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