Dumpster Diving is a common way criminals gain information about others to commit fraud. Legally, someone can look through your trash and gather anything desired; however, that person cannot
use that information to commit fraud – that’s against the law.
One way to keep people from finding your personal and financial information in the trash is to shred essential papers and documents. Basically, anything with account numbers, birth dates, maiden names, passwords, PINs, signatures, and social security numbers should be shredded. Here is a list of items you should shred after you no longer need them:
- Paycheck stubs
- Medical records
- Credit reports
- Expired credit or debit cards
- Pre-approved or another type of credit offer
- Account statements (any account you have)
- Tax forms and documents
- Canceled or voided checks
- Travel itineraries and documents (including luggage tags)
While this is not a complete list, it gives you an idea of what you should consider shredding to maintain your privacy and the security of your personal information.
Ways to Shred
If you don’t have a shredder at your home or office, consider other options. For example, some companies offer “free shredding days” – take advantage of these special days in your community. Or you can pay a nominal fee at most local postal stores to secure and shred your documents. In most cases, you’ll need to ensure the documents are not stapled or clipped together in some way before shredding them.
Be diligent in ensuring your personal and financial information is protected and secure. The more diligent you are today, the less likely you’ll become a victim of fraud in the future.