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Toss or Shred?

With all the horror stories out there about identity theft, it can feel like the best policy is to shred any document that contains personal information. While you certainly can do this, it’s a tedious process. Safeguard yourself and family by knowing exactly which information to protect and which can be discarded regularly.

Documents containing the following personal information should be shredded:
  • Applications for credit
  • Date of birth
  • Driver’s license number
  • Financial institution or credit card account numbers
  • Insurance coverage information
  • Medical information
  • Mother’s maiden name
  • Passwords
  • Personal identification numbers (PINs)
  • Place of birth
  • Signatures
  • Social Security number
These are the main treasures identity thieves are looking to capture, so be aware of the presence of this information and deal with it accordingly. Quality crosscut shredders—the kind that dice your documents instead of just cutting them into strips (which can be taped backed together)—can be found for under $30. It’s better to make small investments than to be out thousands of dollars due to information falling into the wrong hands.

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