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Shredding Guide

Identity theft is one of the fastest growing crimes in America. Falling victim to an identity thief can have serious financial and personal repercussions. One of the best ways to protect yourself from identity theft is to shred all personal documents to prevent a thief from getting ahold of your information. However, knowing exactly what to shred and how long you should hold onto it before sending it through the shredder can be a little tricky. Keep this simple guide in mind to know how long you should hold on to personal documents.

Items that you should shred immediately include:

  • ATM receipts
  • Sales receipts
  • Paid utility bills
  • Paid credit card statements
  • Credit card offers
  • Expired warranties
  • Cancelled checks that are not tax related

Items that you should hold onto for 1 year and then shred include:

  • Bank statements
  • Pay stubs
  • Paid, undisputed medical bills

Items that you should hold onto for 7 years and then shred include:

  • Tax-related cancelled checks and receipts
  • W-2s
  • Records for tax deductions

There are also some items that have special rules of when to shred, including:

  • Vehicle titles, which should be kept as long as you have the vehicle
  • Home deeds, which should be kept as long as you own the property
  • Home improvement receipts, which should be kept until you sell your home and pay any capital gains taxes
  • Disputed medical bills, which should be kept until the problem is figured out

Some items should be kept in a safe and never go near a shredder, including:

  • Social Security cards
  • Birth certificates
  • Divorce and marriage decrees
  • Adoption papers
  • Citizen papers
  • Tax returns
  • Death certificates

While some home insurance policies will provide coverage for identity theft, you may have to invest in a separate identity theft policy to provide the right amount of protection. Contact The Schwab Agency in Colleyville, Texas for all of your homeowners insurance needs.

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