Do you shred all receipts – or do you toss them into the trash in once piece? For a long time I’ve shredded anything that has part of my credit card number on it OR anything that has me my full name and address. Which is just about every receipt and piece of mail I receive.
It’s time consuming to save all my receipts and sort mail into a recycle pile, a shred pile, and a to do pile. I’m tempted to let more of my personal info out into the world, but I almost had my identity stolen.
Should I relax my shredding obsession? What personal info do you shred?
My obsession with shredding so many pieces of paper started when I was in my early 20s. A friend mentioned she shreds everything with her or her husband’s name on it and I decided to follow her lead. I figured over-shredding my personal information was better than under-shredding. Ha!
Every six months, I fill a box full of paper to be shredded.
Instead of doing it myself, I haul it to our town’s biannual recycling event. A shredder truck shows up and shreds my entire box on the spot, for free!
In addition to shredding, freezing your credit card info is the best way to make sure nobody opens a credit account in your name without you knowing. It costs a few dollars (about $15) to freeze your credit and you have to pay again to unfreeze it (cost varies by state), but it’s a heck of a lot cheaper than paying a monthly fee for someone to monitor your credit. With a credit freeze, NOBODY can open a line of credit with your info. With monitoring, they alert you to suspicious activity.
Credit freezing is proactive, while monitoring is not.
While I know it’s safer to keep shredding everything, is there any evidence that letting the last four digits of your credit card number go unshredded leads to identity theft? I mean, what could somebody do with just the final four digits? Pretty much everybody asks for the 3-digit code on the back. And does it matter if someone gets my full name with my address? It’s already out there in so many places.