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What Documents Should I Shred?

April 7, 2015

Everyone—whether you are a business owner or individual—has confidential documents that need to be properly secured. Not only is it important to have a proper and secure way to store these documents, but you also need to be aware of when and how to securely dispose of them.

Shredding confidential documents is one way to safeguard your information. With our 2015 Community Shred Days approaching, our security experts put together a list of the documents that should be shredded:

  • Tax information and returns older than 7 years.
  • Investment records and statements older than 7 years.
  • Bank statements and canceled checks older than 7 years.
  • Paycheck stubs older than 3 months.
  • ATM receipts once they are compared with your bank statement.
  • Credit card statements older than 7 years.
  • Credit card receipts once they are compared with your credit card statement.
  • Utility bills and other household receipts.
  • Warranties if you no longer have the item.
  • Insurance policies which are no longer in effect (nothing current).
  • Personal documents and pictures (your discretion).

There are certain documents or permanent files you should keep forever which include, wills, powers of attorney, birth certificates, marriage documents, divorce or child care orders, trust documents, business agreements, military records.

Items such as floppy diskettes and CD’s should be shredded, destroyed or made unusable in some manner. Computer hard drives deserve special attention as they may have information on finances, taxes, usernames, passwords, and other sensitive information. Deleting files and formatting a hard drive does not permanently remove the files from your system. Before disposing or getting rid of your computer or hard drives, they should be removed and physically destroyed.