Millions of people are the victims of identity theft each year. From gaining access to your credit cards to signing up for credit cards or other services in your name, there is no end to the possibilities that identity thieves have to take advantage of your personal information. One of the biggest sources of identity theft is our own trash. Many people carelessly throw away documents with personal information such as names, account numbers, addresses, telephone numbers, birth dates, and even social security numbers.
How Your Files Can Lead to Identity Fraud
Everyone has personal files filled with sensitive information. With millions of cases of identity fraud occurring every year, protecting your files is one of the easiest id and credit protection tips recommended by experts today. Here are a few things a credit thief can do with the information found on your unprotected documents.
- Open a credit card in your name and spend thousands before you know it exists.
- Change your address so your mail goes to him.
- Create insurance policies with your information that will benefit the thief and be paid by you.
- Implicate you in criminal activities.
- Gain access to your existing credit cards and bank accounts and wipe you clean in a matter of minutes.
These things may take years for you to overcome, and they could leave a lasting impact on your credit that might cause many struggles in your future financial plans.
How to Prevent Identity Theft with Document Shredding
It sounds like such a simple thing, but document shredding might be a surefire way to prevent identity thieves from getting that valuable personal information needed to commit fraud. Any document containing any personal information, no matter how insignificant it may seem, may be a gateway to identity theft. There are government regulations that prevent businesses from just tossing your personal information into the recycling bin. Shouldn't you take the same precautions with your own documents?
It is important to invest in a paper shredder for your household and office. Paper shredders don't have to be expensive, but getting a quality one can save you thousands of dollars and the lasting headaches caused by identity theft.Most people don't understand that the effects of identity theft can last for years and years. A crosscut paper shredder is the best way to start the disposal process of that vital information on your documents. The shredder cuts the paper in a way that is nearly impossible to piece back together. When the shredder's bucket is full, just dump the compressed scraps into the recycling bin and grab a new stack of disposable documents.It only takes a few minutes to prevent identity theft with document shredding, and it might save you from a lot of future hassle.
Other Ways to Protect Your Documents
While using a personal shredder to protect yourself from identity theft is one simple fix, there are many other important id and credit protection tips when it comes to your documents. If you have a lot of documents you are considering getting rid of, find a bank or other vendor in your area that offers a free shredding service. Many banks offer these services at least once a year, inviting the public to come and shred a full box of personal information for free. These shredding services use the best technology to make your important credit information irrecoverable from those documents. Of course, you shouldn't just hand over a box of credit card numbers to someone you don't know. Be sure you actually see the documents shredded before leaving your valuable credit information behind.
In addition to paper shredding, make sure you keep your important files in a safe place. As much as we want to believe that we are becoming a paperless society, paper still does and always will play a role in our lives. It's important for us to know what to do with our paper. Having a locking file cabinet and a small fireproof safe are great ways to protect your documents. For the most important documents, it is advisable to get a safety deposit box at your bank. You should also protect yourself by utilizing regular credit monitoring. This allows you to know instantly if there is any suspect activity regarding your credit. Of course, any documents you get from your credit monitoring service should be locked up securely until you are ready to shred them. Remember, it doesn't take long to become the victim of identity theft. You can prevent identity fraud in just seconds by shredding your documents and keeping your information safe.