Shred, Baby, Shred!

Tax Day is now behind us. What a relief! But now we have a pile of paperwork and receipts. It can be tempting to toss out the tax documents you don’t need anymore. But identity thieves would love to dig through your trash to steal your personal info. Yeah, that really does happen. According to a Better Business Bureau news release:

” Last year alone, 11.1 million Americans became victims of ID theft, a 12 percent increase over the previous year, according to a 2010 report from Javelin Strategy and Research. ”

The Better Business Bureau has its annual “Secure Your ID Day” Saturday April 17th at 55 BBB locations around the country.  Free shredding.   There’s one in Tulsa where I live.  There might be one near you. Here’s a list of where the Shred Fest is going on.

Here’s some shredding advice from the BBB’s Alison Southwick:

“Make sure that you shred any documents that have your birthdate, your PIN number, your Social Security numbers, any other information like your mother’s maiden name–it may sound like it’s not important, but to identity thieves, it can be a gold mine.”

If you’re not sure about what to keep and what to shred, the BBB and the IRS recommend that you keep:

  • Tax withholding statements for at least 7 years.
  • Bank statements for 3 years.
  • Tax returns and worksheets permanently.

What can you toss?  The BBB’s Southwick says, “You can get rid of receipts, ATM receipts, that kind of thing.  You can also get rid of cancelled checks from the last year, as long as it doesn’t have to do with your taxes.”

Those are the documents you can “Shred, baby, shred!”

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