Once your trash is on the curb anyone can search through it and take anything they want. This means anything in your trash bag can be used to steal your identity. Did you shred your bills? I bet you did, but did you shred your credit card receipt from dinner last week? I am willing to bet it did not even cross your mind and I bet there are several other things that you have never thought needed to go in your shred bin. Let's look at some of the items that never make it to our shred bins.
Funeral Pamphlets: Thieves use the identity of more than two million deceased Americans every year to apply for loans, open credit cards, and file tax returns. When writing an obituary note your loved one's age and avoid listing their full date of birth. Also, do not indicate their mother's maiden name because as we all know these two personal details are often the answers to security questions.
Receipts: If you use a credit card to make a purchase chances are your receipt will display the last four digits of the credit card you used and may even include a copy of your signature. Thieves can use your receipts to make fraudulent returns resulting in store credit for them. Plus combining other personal information they may find in your trash or online about you could cost you a pretty penny. Try switching to digital receipts when possible.
Boarding Passes: Your boarding pass includes your name, travel itinerary, and frequent flier number. Also, thieves can use Apps to scan the barcode which gives them access to additional personal information. With this information thieves can change your trip plans and even worse, they will know when you will not be home giving them yet another opportunity to steal from you.
Birth Announcements: Did you know that children are 51 percent more likely to have their identity stolen than an adult? Birth announcements are a cute way to announce the birth of your new baby but be sure to shred your extras. Details such as your child's name, date of birth, eye color, parents names, and other personal details can be used to steal your child's identity.
Vet Records and Papers: These papers detail personal information about you as well as your pet. Think address, name, phone number, etc. In addition, in a survey conducted by Google Apps, a pets name was the most common password choice. Are you thinking you should run and change your passwords? It's ok, I am sure you are not alone.
Return Labels: This not only includes the envelopes your mail comes in but also those cute free return labels that you receive from various companies. Your name and address paired with your social media presence makes it easy to identify family names and work history making it easy to steal your identity. When writing your return address be sure to exclude your name in order to keep your identity safe.
Resumes: This is a big one. Resumes include a variety of personal details that are dangerous when the wrong person finds them. Name, phone number, address, past and current employment history, and educational history are all found here. When a thief finds a resume they have hit the jackpot!
The best way to protect yourself from identity theft is to stay informed about how thieves use your information and then take precautions to keep your information private. At Embassy we guarantee secure destruction of your documents to protect you from identity theft. Our state-of-the-art NAID Certified destruction equipment shreds your information into unrecognizable particles—whether it comes in the form of paper documents or electronic media. After confidential data is securely destroyed it is recycled. Find out more about our shredding services here.