Monday, January 18, 2016

What you should be shredding

Happy New Year, everyone! An October post asks, Are you shredding your used boarding passes? If not, you should be because the bar code on that piece of paper contains lots of personal information about you and your trip.

For your own security, here is a list of other documents that you should be shredding, courtesy of the February 2016 edition of Readers Digest:

  • Prescription labels. I always obliterate these from prescription bottles before I recycling the containers. There is enough information on the label to allow a dumpster diver to refill the medication or use social engineering to steal your identity.
  • Purchase receipts. For the receipts that you don't save, these often carry the last four digits of your social security number (SSN), which is a frequently required authentication credential. They can also be used to fraudulently return store items. NOTE: In a similar vein, Brian Krebs posted an interesting blurb in December about The role of phony returns in gift card fraud
  • Pet medical papers. I hate to even mention this one, because you should never use your pet's name as part of any online password, but these should be shredded as well. 
  • Return shipping labels. These usually contain your full name and address. I not only shred these, but any piece of paper or envelope that comes in the mail pre-printed with my name and address goes into the shredder. 
  • Account statements. I added this one to the list myself. It goes without saying that any document with any account number on it should be shredded after use, including utility bills, phone bills, bank statements, insurance information, tax documents, pay stubs, etc. 

To simplify, remember to shred anything that displays your name, address or any other personally identifying information. Let's stay safe and secure in 2016!

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