If you're like all of us, you've been and will receive a whole lot of mail this holiday season. Some from friends and relatives and even more from companies trying to gain your business. However, as innocent as this may be, it's a potential gold mine for identity thieves. Just tossing this into the trash doesn't cut it either, in most states, it is not illegal for someone to dig through and retrieve information or other items from a trash can.
Here are the five types of mail you need to destroy this holiday season and beyond:
- Documents Containing Financial Information
Anything that comes from a financial institution, whether you're a client of theirs or not, could potentially be used by an identity thief.
- Documents Containing Personal Information
Obviously, your Social Security number is especially vulnerable, but any combination of information, including your name, address, and date of birth, is a potential risk for the theft of your identity.
- Documents Containing Account Information
This seems obvious; however, how many times have you discarded an account statement from your bank, credit card company, electric company, or another institution that you have an account with? These all need to be destroyed.
- Junk Mail
Most people are surprised by this. Companies are becoming far more sophisticated in their targeting of customers for mailings, and this personal information usually is displayed on their mailings, whether it is preauthorization from a credit card company or from associations like AARP, it should be destroyed.
- Child and School-Related Mail
Your child's school probably still (as required by law in many states) sends confidential information home via the U.S. Mail. Thieves don't discriminate so make sure you protect your child's information too.
At Data Guardian, we provide drop-off and schedule pick-up services for residential and individual customers. Visit our drop-off shredding page for more information including pricing and hours.
Courtesy of Ledford, Jerri. "Shred These 5 Documents to Prevent Identity Theft." The Balance, 11 Nov. 2017, www.thebalance.com/shred-mail-identity-theft-1947644