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5 Things to Always Shred

Posted on: 2019-04-25 // Categories: Personal Finances , Identity Theft

5 things to shred

Wondering what you should bring to West Bank's Free Shred Day for on-site destruction? Generally speaking, you should shred anything that has personal information like your name, address, phone number, social security number, or bank account information.  Here are 5 examples.

Documents Containing Financial Information

Any mail that comes from a financial institution such as West Bank or your credit card company could be stolen from your trash and used to steal money and your identity. Check with  your financial advisor to find out how long to keep account statements. If you have canceled or voided checks on hand, those should also be shredded. Any statement that has your bank account or billing information should be shredded after you no longer need them.

Documents Containing Personal Information

Identity thieves can do a lot of damage with just your date of birth and Social Security number. Your full name and address, home or work telephone numbers, or driver’s license number can make their job even easier. Examples would be:

  • Mail you receive from the Internal Revenue Service,
  • Mail from your state vehicle registration agency,
  • Employment-related mail containing your personal information 
  • Travel-related documents— passport, tickets, itineraries that contain personally identifiable information
  • Medical reports

Documents Containing Account Information

Account numbers, usernames, and passwords are gold mines for identity thieves. Shred any mail printed with this information:

  • credit card statements,
  • personal property, and real property tax statements
  • bills
    • doctor or hospital 
    • utility accounts
    • cell phone
    • internet 
    • rentals or vacation property

Child- and School-Related Mail

The Social Security Administration recommends that you apply for a Social Security number for your child before you even leave the hospital when the baby is born. This is easy to do when you give the information for the child's birth certificate. You'll need that Social Security number to:

  • Open a bank account for the child
  • Buy savings bonds for the child
  • Get medical coverage for the child
  • Apply for government services for the child.

The mail you receive concerning your children, such as their medical records and school information should be shredded before throwing it away. This can include:

  • copies of your children's birth certificates
  • authorization for school field trips
  • school applications
  • report cards 

Junk Mail

Junk mail may seem innocuous, but it usually has a computer barcode on the front that can sometimes contain personally identifying information.  Since companies market to certain demographics like your age group, occupation, or purchasing habits, it's a good idea to shred all of your junk mail along with any return envelopes that may be provided. Examples:

  • pre-authorized credit card offers
  • mail from insurance companies and lenders
  • mail from associations such as the AARP or other membership organizations

Better to Be Safe Than Sorry

Identity theft can ruin you life for many years. 

Some things that can be affected when someone else uses your stolen identity are: 

  • Your credit history
  • Auto insurance rates
  • Job prospects
  • Taxes
  • Social Security Income Credits
  • Tax refunds
  • Your medical treatment should you be hospitalized
  • College financial aid for you or your children 

Take advantage of West Bank's annual free shred day. Offered as a community service to help protect you from identity theft, West Bank will pay to have your documents shredded on site and recycled so that no thief can use them to steal your identity.

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Posted on: 2019-04-25 // Categories: Personal Finances , Identity Theft

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