Identity Theft from Documents

Every week, most people go through the routine of having to pull their trash can out of the house and into the curb so that while they are at work, the refuse can be dragged away. This practice has remained as an integral part of modern life to the extent that upon moving into a new neighborhood, we make it a point to immediately know what day of the week is trash day.

While most of us call it trash day, identity thieves have a totally different name for that very important day. They call it cash day!

Identity thieves refer to it as cash day because it’s the day of the week where they get a chance of prowling through neighborhoods in search of trash that they can turn into cash. And they don’t even have to travel far. An identity can definitely strike gold on any street across the country in most trash cans. After all, what most people carelessly toss away as outdated documents or junk mail can be just like getting to win a lottery, in the trained eyes of an identity criminal.

Every day, your trash can contains your personal information in the form of a wide range of documents that you casually discard. The types of items that identity thieves are often after include:

  • Expired debit and credit cards
  • Debit and credit card receipts
  • Credit card statements
  • Unused credit card checks
  • Cancelled checks
  • Savings and checking accounts statements
  • Pre-approved credit card applications and offers
  • Savings and checking account statements
  • Paycheck stubs
  • Pension account statements
  • Earnings and wage statements
  • Utility and phone bills
  • Retail statements and invoices
  • Tax statements and returns
  • Insurance claim information
  • Medical bills
  • Expired identification documents (driver’s passports and licenses)
  • Insurance policy information (life, auto, health)

Truth be told, identity theft from documents can be carried out even by an unsophisticated thief using any of the above mentioned items. An identity criminal is even going to have an easier time harming you if they find documents containing information such as: the name of your doctor; return addresses on bank envelopes; your mortgage maintenance; the location of your investments; among others.

Fortunately, identity theft is one the easiest types of crime to prevent. By just shredding any address label, receipt, or any other piece of paper that contains identifying information such as account numbers; you can definitely stop identity theft from documents.

Simply ripping a document a several times by your hands won’t do. An identity thief can spend hours putting together ripped documents like a jigsaw puzzle! Because of that, it’s important for every household to have at least one highly efficient cross-cut shredder.