26 Apr

Protect Your Identity by Shredding Personal Documents

Identity theft is a nationwide problem, and the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) estimates as many as 9 million Americans have their identities stolen each year. The fact is anyone with a social security number is vulnerable to identity theft.

The good news is there are things you can do to reduce your risk. Shredding documents that contain personal and financial information is one of the best ways to protect your identity. Navigator Credit Union has the details on what to keep and what to shred.

Save forever
Keep documents related to major life events – birth, marriage, divorce and death. Lock securely:

  • Birth certificates or adoption papers
  • Social Security Cards
  • Citizenship papers or passports
  • Marriage or divorce decrees
  • Death certificates of family members.

Also, keep auto titles and home deeds stored safely for as long as you own the property.

Tax records
Keep tax-related records for seven years. Should you be selected for an audit by the Internal Revenue Service, these records will be needed. And while tax-related receipts, canceled check and W-2s can be shredded after seven years, the FTC suggests keeping tax returns forever.

Other records
According to the FTC, you don’t have to wait seven years before shredding many other documents. After paying personal credit card or utility bills, shred them immediately. Also shred sales receipts, unless related to warranties, taxes or insurance. After one year, shred bank statements, pay stubs and medical bills (unless you have an unresolved insurance dispute or these documents should be kept as tax records). You should also shred voided checks and any online purchase orders containing your bank account or billing information right away.

Millions of pieces of mail are delivered every day and some of those could contain sensitive personal information. Here is a list of items to shred:

  • Documents containing personal and real estate taxes
  • Mail containing information about utility accounts, cell phone and internet bills
  • Pre-authorized or pre-approved credit card offers
  • Mail from insurance companies and lenders
  • Child and school-related mail.

Free Community Shred Days
If you have documents you’d like to safely dispose of, you can take advantage of one of two upcoming free Community Shred Days being offer by Navigator in collaboration with community partners in Mobile, Ala., and D’Iberville, Miss. Both events are restricted to personal document shredding and will offer drive-up and drop-off shredding services. Shredding services first-come, first-served based on truck capacity.

The first, co-sponsored by Fox 10 News, is Saturday, May 1, 2021, from 7 a.m. to 11 a.m. at the Fox10 Studios located at 1501 Satchel Paige Drive in Mobile, Ala. The Office of Mississippi Attorney General Lynn Fitch is teaming with Navigator for the second event, which is Saturday, May 8, 2021, from 8 a.m. to noon at Walmart Supercenter, 3615 Sangani Boulevard, D’Iberville, Miss.

Community Shred Day – Alabama
Saturday, May 1
7-11 a.m.
Fox 10 Studios
1501 Satchel Paige Drive
Mobile, Ala.

Community Shred Day – Mississippi
Saturday, May 8
8 a.m.-Noon
Walmart Supercenter
3615 Sangani Blvd
D’Iberville, Miss.