With our annual charity shred event right around the corner, I usually get questions about exactly what is OK to shred and when. Recently I came across this infographic from the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) which provides very clear recommendations about what you should do and when. Take a moment to click in, look over the list, and see how well you are handling your personal documents versus what the FTC recommends.
To Shred or Not to Shred...
Personal data security has become a real issue that we all need to be aware of and proactive in how we address it. Shredding documents containing sensitive information has become a way of life now. Taking the necessary steps and shredding your paperwork is an easy way to avoid becoming a victim. In the same way that you lock your car or have a safe deposit box, you need to make sure that your data doesn't fall into the wrong hands.
If you have questions about your ways to protect your personal data or your financial future, please reach out for a chat. I'd be happy to discuss your best next steps.
Contact me directly at: firstname.lastname@example.org
So, What Should I Shred and When?
According to the FTC, the list detailed below is a quick reference to help you figure out what needs to be dealt with when and how.
- Sales Receipts
- ATM Receipts
- Paid credit card statements
- Paid utility bills
- Credit offers
- Cancelled checks (that are not tax related)
- Expired warranties
UP TO 1 YEAR
- Pay stubs
- Bank statements
- Paid, undisputed medical bills
AFTER 7 YEARS
- Tax-related receipts
- Tax-related cancelled checks
- Records for tax deductions taken
- Auto titles - Keep as long as you own the vehicle
- Home deeds - Keep as long as you own the property
- Disputed medical bills - Keep until the issue is resolved
- Home improvement receipts - Keep until you sell your home and pay any capital gains taxes
- Birth certificates
- Social Security cards
- Marriage or divorce decrees
- Citizenship papers
- Adoption papers
- Death certificates
- Tax returns
1. “A Pack Rat's Guide to Shredding.” FTC Consumer Information, Lisa Weintraub Schifferle, Attorney, Division of Consumer and Business Education, FTC, 13 Mar. 2018, www.consumer.ftc.gov/blog/2015/05/pack-rats-guide-shredding.