Madison, WI,
12:22 PM

Tips for Document Destruction


Keep personal information safe and secure.

What’s a good way to help preserve your financial security?

Avoid identity theft by destroying old documents that contain personal, financial or otherwise sensitive information.

Identity thieves can use old discarded documents that contain this type of information to access your financial records, make purchases or obtain prescription drugs in your name.

As you sort through documents you no longer need, here are typical items you’ll want to destroy.

  • Anything with an account number such as old bills, bank statements, loan documents, pay stubs and insurance policies.
  • Any papers with your signature, which could be used to forge other documents.
  • Anything that contains a Social Security number.
  • Old ID cards including expired driver's licenses.
  • Expired credit cards.
  • “Preapproved” credit-card offers and applications, which can be used to obtain fake credit cards.
  • Old health insurance or prescription records.
  • Tax forms and tax-related documents.
  • Anything that lists a password or PIN.

Once you have papers to destroy, what’s the best way to do it? Here are some easy ways you can destroy old records.

  • Shredding – Cross-cut paper shredders are effective because they slice papers horizontally and vertically, turning your documents into small pieces.
  • Burning – This completely destroys paper. When you burn outdoors, be sure an open fire is allowed.
  • Selective Snipping – If the paper you want to dispose of only has a small section of confidential information, cut that part out before disposing or recycling.

By taking these simple steps, you can prevent a thief from obtaining your personal information.

Check out these related resources:

Prevent Identity Theft by Protecting Your Online Presence
Protect your Computer and its Data
What's Your Risk for Identity Theft?
How to Avoid Identity Theft in Your Home