The problem with shredding is you don’t know what documents you should destroy or keep. If you don’t shred the excess, there’s a high chance that somebody might take hold of it for evil purposes. Crumpling and throwing it in the trash won’t be a good decision since bin diving is one of the major causes of identity theft. Disposing of personal confidential documents should include shredding it in into bits that no one can reassemble.
1. Old utility bills
Utility bills contain your name, address, account number, and other information that will make it easy for you to become the next victim of fraud. Once you’d paid everything, you should shred the old bills. You can also scan the bills before destroying it so you’ll have a digital copy for future reference. Don’t let your old utility bills pile up in the trash as someone can easily have access to it.
2. Expired cards
A single swipe of your old credit cards or ATM cards can already extract its information. This makes you an easy picking for identity theft and fraud. The last thing you’ll know is you lost a large sum of money or you’re new card just reached its purchasing limit.
Aside from your bankcards, you should also shred your expired identification cards. Most of the time, IDs can be renewed so you have no use for old ones.
3. Used airline tickets and boarding pass
Airline tickets and boarding passes all contain QR codes that even a random IT geek can scan. What you don’t know is that this small sheet of paper possesses a lot of information about you especially if you’re flying a lot. Nefarious hackers can easily decipher your barcode, access your account, and mess with it. Though it’s tempting to keep those as souvenirs of your travel, you can simply scan it and shred it afterward.
4. Unused checks
Bank documents are the most crucial ones in disposing of personal confidential documents. It includes money in the picture, especially if you’re always writing checks. You might not give too much attention to it but unused or canceled checks will include your account number, full name, bank and branch number, and at times, your signature. Throwing it in the trash will be easier for fraudsters to victimize you. Make yourself a big favor of doodling random lines on the spaces then destroying it with a micro-cut shredder afterward.
5. ATM receipts
It’s normal to see piles of ATM receipts below the machine. Such thing looks harmless but not until someone dives in it and picks your own receipt. They can keep track of your withdrawing habits and the worst-case scenario is you’ll be robbed. If the criminal is low key, they can take hold of your account through the information printed in your receipt. They can imitate your spending habits that will be difficult for your bank to figure out.
6. Medical records
Of all the documents you’ll be handling, medical records are one of the most private, especially if it’s your patient’s. Reuters had already warned the public that their personal medical information is ten times more valuable than their credit card information. But why? It’s because health care experts rely on their patients’ medical records privacy as their bounty. Once that sensitive information leaked, they’re doomed. If you’re a medical professional, you should keep this in mind.
7. Payment records
Like your ATM receipts, payment records or deposit slips will include the same amount of information that will expose you to fraud. This isn’t meant to sow fear, instead it’s intended to warn you of the possibility that may take place. Vouchers are not an exemption since it contains the same information with that of a check. Payment records can be scanned like the other documents and then shredded as part of disposing of personal confidential documents.
8. Expired passport
Many people love keeping their old passports as a memento of their past travel experiences. But if you can’t store it in a safe place, you might as well shred it. An expired passport can be a ticking time bomb once an unauthorized person took hold of it. Your PII is the juiciest part of your passport and even a first-time fraudster wouldn’t have a hard time stealing your identity. With your own signature and photo to top it all, it’s a complete package.
9. Customer documents
If you’re running a business, say human resource solutions, you’d be handling tons of employee or customer information. These include social security numbers, addresses, birth date, payment, and sensitive employee information. Such records are worse than an expired passport. Throw it in a dumpster and you’re company will be blowing up in the morning. You’re not just compromising your clientele, but it will also taint your business’ reputation.
10. Junk mail
Junk mails are more than common at home or in the office and it’s always part of disposing of personal confidential documents. Credit cards offers, insurance letters, loan offers, or association mails. Most junk mails have return addresses, and if someone wants to mess with your company or identity, they would simply mail that back. Most junk mails have barcodes in the envelope that are easy to scan. This contains information about you like your demographics, occupation, age, income range, or common purchases. If you’re not planning to open it, toss it to the shredder right away.
11. School mails
Your children aren’t immune to identity theft. Mails from schools may include social security numbers or even your authorization for school activities. If it’s not needed for future reference, just shred it to bits. Your authorization letter can be used to take advantage of your child’s innocence. Aside from the usual school mails, you should also shred the medical records of your child after scanning it. According to news reports, thieves are targeting social security numbers of kids. Why? Because it’s easier to get than adult ones.
12. Bank statements
Bank statements are the raw evidence that you have money in the bank. Aside from the numbers, it also includes a detailed list of your transactions as well as your account number. If your bank statement is already a year old, you should include it in the disposing of personal confidential documents. You can easily ask another copy from your bank if ever you needed it so there’s no point of keeping old ones. If it’s really pressing that you have access to your bank statements, just opt for online versions.
13. Insurance policy documents
Let me get this straight, insurance policy documents are important to keep. But if you’re worrying about it getting stolen, you can ask your insurance company about a digital version. If they have such thing, you can shred the hard copy and just access the online version on your insurer’s website. It’s also safer to just scan your policy documents and just refer to it digitally. If you prefer physical copies, you might as well get a vault.
14. CDs containing personal documents
Although digitally stored, CDs are still physical copies. If you think you have no use for the documents stored in CDs and DVDs, you can shred it. There are machines that can chew this material so you don’t need to smash it on your own. If you’re storing personal files, opt for a highly secured cloud space.
15. Tax records
You should shred old tax records not because you’re hiding something, but because it says a lot about your privacy. Tax records have everything in it, especially if you have a business. Just make sure that you have scanned each sheet before shredding it. You’ll probably need to refer to it someday. Anyway, tax records can be a large pile if stored for long.
The Best Shredder in Disposing Of Personal Confidential Documents
If you’re planning to shred your large pile of personal documents, you should get the best machine. One of the best-sellers is the AmazonBasics 12-Sheet Micro-cut Shredder. This can chew paper, credit cards, and CDs with a runtime of eight minutes and cooldown of 45 minutes. What else can you expect when you use this shredder? Check this out:
High security for your confidential documents
With a micro-cut system, this shredder will turn your sheets into unrecognizable bits of 5/32” x 15/32”. This is way better than the typical crosscut shredder and especially the strip-cuts that are easy to reassemble.
Even though it can run in an average of 8 minutes, this shredder can destroy 6 feet of sheets per minute. The 9.1-inch feeding opening is also advantageous for easy stacking of 12 sheets at a time in disposing of personal confidential documents.
Thermal protection for long-lasting motor
Once the AmazonBasics shredder reached its maximum temperature, it will shut down automatically to protect the motor from damages. For easier use, you can also set this in auto mode for continuous shredding. It also has a manual reverse feature to fix paper jams.
At 6.7 gallons, this shredder is already spacious for massive shredding at home. It’s also quiet while in use so it will be a plus point if you’re ‘destroying the evidence’ at night.
Disposing of personal confidential documents is important to avoid any threat of fraud. This will save you from the dreadful scenarios of losing money in the bank or having someone using your identity for criminal acts. Do you have a pile of these documents at home? Let us help you sort it out in the comment section.