A Guide For Dallas Residents
Identity theft is a growing problem and every year, there are hundreds of thousands of reported cases of fraud. Whether you are just starting your career as a young professional or preparing for retirement, you should take regular precautions to reduce the chances that you fall victim to identity fraud.
Some documents are considered so confidential that they require unequivocal destruction prior to disposal. When you come across these old documents, waste no time and immediately shred them once you determine they are no longer needed:
- Income Tax Returns
Tax returns show detailed information about your reported earnings and financial history, as well as displaying your social security number in plain text. Further, any dependents listed on your tax return will also have their personal information printed on this form. Unless you are being audited, the IRS recommends that old tax returns should be thrown out after 3 years. Before tossing it in the trash though, make sure you take serious steps to shred the materials completely.
- Bank Statements
Every month, your bank probably sends you a statement about your current balance in your savings or checking account. Storing these documents for long periods of time is never recommended because they contain a wealth of private financial information. In fact, when you receive a new statement each month, you should immediately shred the copy from the previous month.
- Credit Card Offers
When your credit card company sends you information about a new plan, you should hold onto this solicitation tightly. Activating a new credit card can sometimes be as easy as calling a 1 (800) number, in which case, a total stranger could be using a card in your name. If you don’t sign up for a new credit card, collect the envelope’s contents, shred the un-activated card, and dispose of any paper information that was sent with it.
- Old Photo ID’s
Government identification cards like driver’s licenses, library cards, or other picture ID’s could give someone unprecedented access to your daily routine. Of course, a driver’s license can be used to falsely impersonate you on contracts and other legally binding documents, so you should always completely destroy this form of identification. Other often-overlooked forms of ID, like security badges, should also be properly shredded before being thrown in the trash.
- Cancelled Checks
Writing ‘void’ on a check sometimes isn’t enough to keep your information safe. While the check may be unusable, identity thieves can still collect data about your routing number, account number, name, and address. Even a check that has been cancelled can provide a detailed glimpse of your private financial information. Protect your bank account and uphold economic privacy by never forgetting to shred a cancelled check.
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