Identity theft and fraud are significant issues we face on a daily basis in our society. Fraudsters thrive off of obtaining personal, confidential information from innocent victims in order to steal from them, and they’ll go to great lengths to get anything they can.

So, how can you take preventive measures into your own hands? You can start by shredding all your personal and medical records and financial documents. Shredding confidential paperwork is critical when it comes to protecting yourself from identity theft and fraud.

Protect Your Information and Identity

Have you ever innocently thrown pieces of junk mail in the trash? Bills after you’ve paid them online? Bank statements? Medical records? The list goes on and considering all the paper mail that lands in our mailboxes on a daily basis, this is probably something we’ve all done before at one point or another in our lives.

While chucking these kinds of documents immediately into the trash is certainly the easiest way to get rid of paper mail that we don’t need, something this simple can wind up being your worst nightmare and a fraudster’s dream come true. Some fraudsters go as far as digging through your garbage can just to get their hands on your personal information. From there, they can steal your identity to open up a loan or credit card in your name, buy items with your credit or debit card, steal your tax refund, use your health insurance, and more.

What’s Shred Worthy?

A best practice to follow would be to shred any paperwork that includes identifying information about yourself. Aside from junk mail, bills, bank statements, and medical records I already mentioned previously, this list could also include your:

  • Address

  • Bank account information

  • Blank checks

  • Credit card statements

  • Credit reports

  • Full name

  • Insurance information

  • Legal paperwork

  • Paperwork with your signature on it

  • Social security information

  • Tax records

Shredding Frees up Space

As stacks of sensitive paperwork start piling up, set aside a designated box, bin, or bag with all the documents that need to be shredded. This will help you to discard personal information in a secure fashion, while reducing the risk of it ending up in the wrong hands. You can take pride in knowing that you took extra precautions to protect your personal information. Plus, you’ll be freeing up your home and mailbox from clutter in the meantime.

Shredding Saves Our Planet

By shredding, you’re doing your part in protecting our planet. Shredding paperwork saves trees, energy, landfills, and water.

You can reduce your carbon footprint even further by electing to receive paper documents, records, and bills (you know, the ones that are filling up your mailbox) electronically.

Buy Yourself a Shredder

Get yourself a quality shredder to shred documents for at-home use. Personal shredders are affordable options and are good to have around to shred documents right on the spot. Check out shredders that are equipped with crosscutting functionality that shreds paper down into small pieces.

Attend Shred Events

You may also look for local shred events in your community!

At GOLD, we’re happy to host free shred events each year for our members giving them the opportunity to bring us their personal paperwork to be shredded safely and immediately on-site. Our next event is in a few weeks on Saturday, June 3, from 9-11 AM.

Kate Everett

Kate Everett

Kate is the Risk and Compliance Manager at GOLD. In her role, she maintains compliance policies and procedures as required and provides supervisory review and activity of all audits. She is also responsible for establishing and maintaining an ongoing risk and compliance program. She enjoys the ability to work behind the scenes to help maintain the trust and protection of our members.

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