Shredding documents help keep your identity from being stolen. Even things that seem innocent, such as prescription labels, could help someone steel your identity. Even though things like your address and phone number might be public record, identity thieves could pair this easy-gotten information with other information to make stealing identities easier. They may even use relatives' names to locate your social media pages.
You may be asking yourself, “Now what should I shred that I don't already shred?” Pretty much anything that has your name and address on it, plus any other documents that have any other personal information, especially all or part of your social security number.
Boarding passes. These items contain your travel plans, name, and even a bar code that could be deciphered for free on certain websites. The code has your frequent flier number. Identity thieves could use your frequent flier number to log into your account to cancel trips, check into flights and see upcoming travel plans. If a thief finds your travel plans he knows when you are not home and will be able to rob you.
Receipts. These contain partial credit card numbers and may have your signature on them. A thief may also use the receipt for a fraudulent return and may even get store credit in your name.
Credit reports. If you print a credit report from an online inquiry or you receive a copy of your credit report in the mail, be sure to shred it as soon as you are finished with it. Even though it may not contain your entire social security number, it does contain part of it, along with partial account numbers, your name, address and possibly your phone number.
Prescription labels. The labels have your name, your doctor's information and the drug information. Thieves could use this information to create false prescription refills or to steal your identity.
Your pet's medical papers. This is especially important if you use a pet's name as a password. Thieves know that people often use a pet's name, so anything with that information on it is like hitting the jackpot.
Resumes. These documents contain all sorts of information a thief could use to steal your identity, including past employment. Some businesses could ask you about previous employment to verify your identity.
Return labels. Shred return labels so that thieves cannot get a hold of your address. When you write your return address on an envelope, don't include your name. The thieves will use this information with other information they may have, or may use it to find you on social media, all to gain access to your identity.
Medical and dental records. You may think that this is the last piece of information that a thief might be able to use to steal your identity. However, some medical facilities and insurance companies add your social security number, either in full or partial, to medical information. And, if the information gets stolen, strangers will know your medical problems, and that is none of their business.
Announcements. Extra birth announcements, funeral obituaries and announcements, marriage and other announcements often contain not only your name, but names of relatives. These should be shredded to prevent thieves from piecing together parts of your identity or from using maiden names to gain access to your accounts.
Pay stubs. If you don't save them, shred your pay stubs. They often contain your social security number. If you receive a paper stub for a direct deposit, the stub may also have your bank account information on it.
Thieves will use any information about you to try to steal your identity, especially if they are able to find a piece of paper with your signature on it.
Once you go through all of your documents, bag or box them up and contact Carolina Shred to learn where our shredding trucks will be located in your area. You may also discuss having us shred your documents at our facility.