We are all told the importance of protecting a bank statement or travel identification document but we often do not take the necessary steps to keep and eventually, remove them safely. As cases of fraud become more and more frequent, it is important to know what documents need to be shredded and why. Many travel documents contain sensitive information that can easily be made public if proper precautions, such as shredding, are not taken.
Below is a list of travel documents that have extensive personal information that may surprise you. This list explains what information can be made public and how shredding these documents can prevent this.
1. Expired Credit Cards and Passports
Many people choose to keep their expired passports as a memory of experience. This is a great idea as long as the passport is kept in a safe and secure place. If you are unable to keep the expired passport in a protected the best alternative is to shred this identification document. Expired passports and credit cards are largely used in identity theft crimes as they contain relevant personal information.
2. Used Airline Boarding Pass and Travel Itineraries
We are all guilty of tossing tickets and itineraries away as soon as we get off the plane so it may come as surprise to know that shredding a boarding pass is a great way to protect yourself. Realizing the ample information provided on the barcode of the boarding pass and the itinerary details will make you question why you did not know this before.
The barcode located on your boarding pass and often the travel itinerary, contains personal information about you and also about your current and future travels. Once an external source has access to these details, they are able to change your flight details without you being informed, obtain credit card information and reveal your current and future location.
3. Bank and Credit Card Statements
Though this is the most obvious document that needs to be protected, the amount of fraudulent activity that comes from bank statements left intact, demonstrates how few people are shredding the personal information that is on these statements.
Bank and credit numbers are the most sought after information. These documents need to be safely discarded by shredding them in order to protect yourself and your assets.
4. Telephone Bills
Telephone bills provide more information than you may have realized. Not only do they show your contact information including phone number, address, and email but also the information of anyone else included in your telephone plan.
In some reports, bills can contain information about whom you speak with and the location of your calls. This is information that should not be freely shared, but instead, safely destroyed.
5. Tax Returns
It is recommended to keep your tax returns for 7 years, especially if you have or will file a claim. A great approach to keeping your returns for the recommended amount of time and removing them after the recommended years is to create a protected soft copy online and shred the out-dated hard copy.
This will provide you access to all of your yearly returns as well as protect yourself and your personal information that is given on tax documents.
The rule of thumb is to shred anything that has your personal information on it, including full name, banking information, personal address, phone number, and social security number. To be extra cautious, consider shredding any documents with your signature, including personal cards or letters.
Shredding documents that contain sensitive information is the only way to ensure that they have been properly destroyed and your information is kept safe.