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Spring cleaning: Purging while preventing ID theft

Tips to protect yourself

Spring is here! And with the colorful flowers and balmy breezes, many people feel the urge to clean out closets and drawers and purge old papers that are collecting dust in their home and offices. Spring cleaning gives everyone a great sense of relief and renewal, especially
de-cluttering spaces that have amassed piles of outdated and forgotten items. But as tempting as it is to toss out all that “junk” it’s important to be mindful of what your discarding and where—because spring cleaning can be an invitation to ID thieves who can’t wait to get their hands on your discards. Here’s a quick guide to safe spring cleaning:

Items you should never recycle

Recycling those heaps of old papers may feel like the responsible thing to do, but in reality, it can be the opposite if the papers contain personal information. Documents that are years old may be useless to you, but they are anything but to an identity thief. So before you throw outdated paperwork into the recycling bin, take note of the types of documents you should never recycle:

  • Bank statements (even bank accounts that are closed)
  • Cancelled checks
  • ATM receipts (even if years old)
  • Deposit receipts (even if years old)
  • Credit card statements
  • Loan statements
  • Pay stubs (even if years old)
  • Medical bills (even if years old)
  • Insurance statements (medical, life, home, auto, etc.)
  • Children’s school records
  • Children’s medical records
  • Old W-2s, 1099s and other tax documents
  • Old tax returns

All of the above documents pose a risk to you and your family if they are picked up by the wrong person because even the smallest amount of personal information is all a criminal needs to steal identities. Your best bet is to scan in the ones you may need in the future and shred them.

Devices you should never recycle

Many of us store tons of personal information on our devices—and when it’s time to upgrade or the information (as on hard drives and thumb drives) becomes outdated, mistakenly believe that we can just delete info and toss them in the recycling bin. But be warned, cell phones, tablets, hard drives and thumb drives can be hacked, even after you’ve wiped them clean. To the layman, the memory and all your data may appear to be deleted, but hackers know how to access information that is invisible to you. Unless you plan to give your old devices to a trusted family member (and even in this case you should delete all personal files), it’s recommended that you have them professional destroyed (shredded).

As you begin Spring Cleaning and de-cluttering your home and office, make sure you’re prudent when it comes to recycling and throwing into trash bins. Follow these tips for safeguarding your confidential information against ID thieves to protect yourself and your family.

All Points Mobile Shredding offers commercial and residential shredding and hard drive destruction services at your home or office. We’re a family owned and operated business that is dedicated to serving you and our community, give us a call today at 772.283.4152 to schedule your spring cleaning shredding!

Dawn Connelly

Dawn Connelly

Dawn is the vice president of All Points Mobile Shredding. All Points Mobile Shredding is a family-owned and operated on-site document destruction company that has been serving the Treasure Coast, Palm Beaches, and surrounding areas since 1994.
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