Businesses, large and small, must be conscientious as to the documentation that they print out. Here, you will learn exactly what paper items should be kept, and how long they should be kept before shredding them.
Paper Shredding to Prevent Identity Theft
What many Americans do not realize, is that it is 100% legal for people to rifle through your garbage. In this digital era, most identity theft still occurs through the paper trail. Therefore, it is imperative for businesses and individuals to destroy any sensitive information on paper and consider a paper shredding service when applicable. Criminals will take it upon themselves to “dumpster dive” for your valuable information to steal from you. By shredding all documentation, containing sensitive, personal information, you are taking one of the most important steps towards protecting your identity, and safeguarding your family’s future. The fact is that everyone should shred their personal documents in order to avoid a detrimental situation.
What Should I Shred?
Items that should be shredded would be anything that includes your social security number, your signature, medical records/bills, legal information, account/bank information that you no longer need, and passwords and PIN’S. You should also consider secure shredding for any sensitive material that includes, addresses, phone numbers, and email addresses.
How Long Should I Hold On To Documents Before Shredding Them?
After a long period of time, you may find that your file cabinets have become inundated with personal information that is overdue for shredding. You may also be confused as to which items you should be shredding to begin with. Here are a few guidelines that should be followed when it is time to consider a paper shredding service.
Bank Statements- Should be kept for one year. However, keep your records that reflect home improvements, a mortgage, or any other major personal or business expenses for as long as needed.
Credit Card Statements- Keep for a minimum of forty-five days. Anything that you would need for tax purposes or proof of purchase should be kept, until you have confirmed payment.
Purchase or Sell of a Home- Keep for six years after you sell the home.
Tax Records- These should be held for about seven years. If the IRS suspects that you made any type of mistake, they can audit you for up to three years. If it is suspected that you underreported your gross income by twenty-five percent or more, the IRS can audit you for up to six years.
Medical Information- Should be kept for a year, minimum. In the event of a dispute over a refund, you will need these records. It is also believed that for any type of treatment, you will need your records from the time of treatment until symptoms end.