4 Documents You Forgot to Shred

One way I’ve solved the mystery of what to shred and what not to shred is to simply shred every paper document. Not only does this eliminate the decision-making process (and the inevitable mistakes), but it ensures you destroy the information you are casually overlooking. We may assume that a small bit of information on a piece of paper isn’t a big deal, but those small bits, collectively, create a fuller identity.

Here are a few documents with private information that might surprise you:

1. Prescription Labels

I remember when I got my first pair of prescription glasses. Life before that was a blur.

Prescription labels and related information contain a great deal of personal information, including your name, your doctor’s name, and whatever has been prescribed for you. Your label could also be used to attempt to fraudulently refill your prescription.

The pharmacy will sometimes give you lists of previous prescriptions, allergies, printouts with your prescription number on every page, and other papers that could contain bits of your identity and information. When you no longer need these, add them to the shred pile. Labels may need to be soaked to be removed from bottles before recycling.

2. Receipts

Parents at a store asked, “Where can we go to change our baby?” The cashier replied, “I can help you with that as long as you have a receipt. Would you like large or small bills?”

Receipts should be shredded, not just thrown out. The last four digits of your credit or debit card and sometimes your signature is printed on receipts, along with a list of all the items you purchased. Full-page receipts and invoices could list even more, including your address and other personal information.

3. Boarding Passes

I asked the flight attendant if I needed a boarding pass to bring hunted game on the flight. She said, “No, you’re allowed one carrion.”

A boarding pass from your latest business or personal flight should be shredded. Again, personal information including frequent flyer account number could be listed. While shredding that, also shred your baggage tags, since they are also linked to your personal information.

4. Resumes

An interviewer said to me, “Your resume says you take things literally.” I replied, “When did my resume learn to talk?”

Resumes obviously contain a wealth of information. When you update that CV or resume, be sure to avoid the possibility of your life on a sheet of paper being found in the dumpster.

I once watched an employee at the DMV stand at the paper shredder and ask the secretary, “How does this work?” The secretary took the fat report from him and fed it into the shredder. The new employee said, “Thanks, but where do the copies come out?”

Make it a habit to consider every piece of discarded paper with printed information to be a potential identity theft culprit. Redirecting all paper from the trashcan to the shred pile will also help turn potential landfill into recycling. Secure shredding is a simple way to help you avoid identity theft.

Richards & Richards offers one-time and scheduled shredding services with lots of flexibility. We are a NAID AAA Certified shredding company serving residents and businesses in the Nashville area. Just give us a call at 615-242-9600 or complete the form on this page.

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