We all know we should be shredding documents that contain personal or financial information, such as bank and credit card account numbers. But sensitive personal information is also lurking in some surprising places, like personal letters, junk mail, travel documents, and more. Here’s a full list of things you should be shredding to keep yourself secure.
Don’t just toss those credit card offers and charity solicitations into the garbage or recycling. Those mailings are sent to you for a reason—the company sending it may have gotten your name from a list, which means it has your name, address, and other personal information, and it may have pre-filled that data on an application or donation form contained inside.
You know the coupons you get in the mail from your favorite stores? They usually contain your name, address, and other information about your purchasing habits. If you don’t use them, shred them.
Did you know that many catalogs you’ve previously ordered from include your name and address on a mailing label inside? Companies do that to make ordering simpler, but it also makes fraud easier if you toss catalogs into the recycle bin without a second thought. When disposing of catalogs, make sure you rip off the mailing label and remove any inserts containing personal information. Shred them and recycle the rest.
Printing out a travel itinerary or boarding pass gives you all the information you need to know about your trip, but it can also give criminals information they can use to steal your identity, commit fraud, or even rob your home while you’re away. Keep printed travel plans in a safe place, and always shred them when your trip is complete.
Anything with Your Signature
Contracts, bills of sale, office memos, official letters, receipts, even birthday cards—anything that bears your official signature should be shredded. Knowing what your signature looks like enables someone looking to open accounts in your name or use your existing accounts for unauthorized purchases to practice forging it.
Packing Receipts and Labels
Before you break down that box for the recycle bin or throw that padded envelope in the trash, make sure you peel off and shred any mailing labels showing your name and address. And check inside for packing receipts—those often show personal information and payment details.
Talk about a road map to your professional life! Your resume contains your name, address, and your entire education and career history—all of which a criminal might be able to use. If you have printed copies of your resumes, store them in a safe place and shred outdated ones.