Why You Should Shred Junk Mail to Prevent Identity Theft

Why You Should Shred Junk Mail to Prevent Identity Theft

Keeping your information safe and out of the wrong hands starts in your mailbox.

Wait, what?

If you worry about yourself or your family being the victims of identity theft, consider how much junk mail arrives at your home.

If you simply throw it away without a second thought, consider how it can fall into the wrong hands. That's why you need a paper shredder that can destroy documents, leaving them useless to criminals.

Here is everything you need to know about staying safe, and why a shredder is a must.

Why It's Important to Destroy Documents with Personal Details

Anything that arrives in your mailbox and has sensitive information gives outsiders a glimpse into your life. In today's age of the internet, stealing information and pretending to be someone else is much easier than in the past.

This is also known as identity theft. It happens to both wealthy businesses men and everyday folks alike.

Becoming the victim often happens in two ways.

Either someone comes along and steals mail with your information on it. If you get it before they do and simply throw it away, they may go through your trash on garbage day when you aren't looking.

For these reasons, as soon as you get mail and determine it's junk, take precautions. Destroy documents, rather than letting them set in the garbage or blow away in the wind.

Doing so protects yourself, and anyone else's information that is present. Sometimes if you have a family member or other individual who acted as a co-signer, mail in their name with your address can arrive.

For these reasons, it's best to take a proactive stance and shred everything you don't need.

What Documents to Look Out For

They are many types of documents that thieves could glean your information from. Anything from medical information, school documents, and records that arrive from your job, such as check stubs.

It helps to know what documents to shred before you go on the lookout. Here are some of the big ones to keep in mind:

  • Personal documents that have your full name and/or social security number, birthday, or phone number
  • Financial Documents such as tax information and bank statements
  • School or medical documentation

It doesn't stop at personal information. Today, many folks run their own small business.

Because of this, you may receive work or client information in the mail. This needs to be guarded cautiously.

Items for this category include business licenses, tax IDs created for the business, and direct marketing mail targeting your business.

Many people take precautions in destroying hard drives. If there is a device or printed mail that has sensitive information you no longer need, it is better off destroyed.

Safeguarding Your Mailbox

Sometimes it's not possible to watch and wait for the mailman. There are options to protect your mailbox when you're gone.

Install a mailbox with a key. The mailman also carries a key that opens this type of mailbox. That way, you two are the only ones who can access mail.

If you find yourself gone a lot, working long hours, or prone to forgetting about your mail, this is a useful option that saves time and prevents worry.

Unless you give someone a key, they won't be able to randomly access your mailbox from off the street.

Request to Be Removed from Mailing Lists

In an effort to stop or slow down the delivery of junk mail, its possible to get your name removed from junk mailing lists. This saves you from having to destroy documents every day.

The Federal Trade Commission of Consumer Information offers resources on ending junk mail. if you do this, be aware it takes time for the offers to go away.

This is not indefinite, and removal from the list lasts for five years. If you find yourself plagued with unnecessary offers, this is a helpful option and gives you some peace of mind.

The less junk mail you have means thieves cannot do as much damage to your credit and name with.

Why the Garbage Can Just Isn't Enough

When many people get junk mail, they opt for the trash, feeling that is the easiest option. It's true, no one wants to deal with junk mail.

However, throwing it in the trash simple to be done with it is not a good idea. If it's at the top of your garbage, identity thieves can easily untie the bag and remove the items they're looking for.

If you've put the trash out on the curb for the day and left for work, it's possible for them to easily rifle through your bag. No one is there to notice or even stop them.

This doesn't have to be a worry if you use a paper shredder that carefully shreds paper into tiny, unidentifiable scraps. There are various shredders on the market that can turn paper into small scraps the size of confetti.

You no longer need to worry if you have to destroy documents yourself when using a shredder. Simply select the size of the shredding you want to achieve and you're on your way.

Let Us Help

If you aren't sure which type of shredder is best for your needs, we are here to help. We will work with you to determine what types of documents you are shredding, and what is the best option for protecting your identity.

You'll never destroy documents the same way again.

Contact us for all your shredder needs. See how little time it takes out of your day to shred something and be done.