Last year, ID fraud affected nearly 12 million Americans, according to a 2012
report by Javelin Strategy and Research. This is an increase of 13 percent
compared to 2011. Online shopping and social networking have increased the
opportunity for identity fraud by hackers and phishing scams. However, research
specialists report that individuals are still at their greatest risk when a
thief has direct contact with their personal information. BBB serving Eastern
North Carolina (bbb.org)
encourages consumers to take action in protecting their identity by shredding
sensitive documents. To assist, BBB offers the following guideline on what and
when to shred.
with no long-term significance for tax or other purposes can be destroyed after
one year. However, canceled checks that support tax returns, such as charitable
contributions or tax payments, should be held for at least seven years—long
enough to cover the six-year tax assessment period. BBB advises that consumers
indefinitely keep any canceled checks and related receipts or documents for a
home purchase or sale, renovations or other improvements to owned property, as
well as non-deductible contributions to an Individual Retirement
Credit card and bank account
Credit card and bank account statements with no tax or
other long-term significance can be discarded after a year; remaining statements
should be kept for up to seven years. If a consumer receives a detailed annual
statement, they should keep it and shred the corresponding monthly
Credit card contracts and other loan
Credit card contracts and loan agreements should be kept
for as long as the account is active in case the consumer has a dispute with
their lender over the terms of the contract.
Deposit, ATM, credit card and debit card
Consumers should save credit, debit and ATM receipts until the
transaction appears on their statement and they have verified that the
information is accurate.
Documentation of a purchase or sale of
stocks, bonds and other investments
Investors should retain
documentation of a purchase or sale for as long as they own the investment and
then seven years beyond that time. Monthly retirement and monthly investment
account statements can be shredded annually after being reconciled with the
Paycheck stubs can
be shredded yearly after the income has been reconciled with a W-2 or other tax
Utility or monthly bills
Monthly bills should
be shredded the year after being received by the consumer. This way, if it is a
power bill, for example, consumers can compare this month's bill to last year's
bill for any major changes before shredding it.
fraud on the rise, it is more important than ever for consumers to take an
active role in protecting their personal information,” says Toby Barfield,
president and CEO of BBB serving Eastern North Carolina. “Understanding what and
when to shred sensitive information is a great first step in this process.”
assist consumers, BBB is hosting its semi-annual "Secure Your ID" Day on April
21, 2012. Free document shredding will be provided from 8:00 a.m. to 12:30 p.m.
in the parking lot of the Coastal Federal Credit Union headquarters on St.
Albans Drive in Raleigh.
are encouraged to bring up to three boxes or bags of documents that have been
removed from binders. At the event, BBB and other partner organizations will
provide tips and resources to help consumers protect their identity.
recommended items to bring to the shredding event:
- Documents that include Social Security numbers, birthdates, PIN
numbers or passwords
- Banking documents and other financial information
- Leases, contracts or letters that include signatures
- Pre-approved credit card applications
- Medical or dental bills
- Travel itineraries
- Used airline tickets
Your ID” Day is presented locally by Coastal Federal Credit Union, with free
shredding provided by PROSHRED® and Cintas Document Management. Event
information is available at www.easternnc.bbb.org/secure-your-id.