Together: Shredding documents can help protect against identity theft and clutter

Identity theft is a serious and stressful experience.

I haven’t encountered this situation personally, but one client had it happen before we began working together. This client is now more vigilant about guarding her personal information.

One precaution you can take to protect your identity is to shred or burn your personal documents when they are no longer needed.

Cross-cut shredders do the best job chewing your papers into tiny bits. Small amounts of paper can be burned in a wood burning fireplace or an outdoor fire pit.

Shredding companies frequently collaborate with banks or other companies to hold free shredding events. Search the internet for “shred events” in your community or check out the “resources” section of my website where I provide a link to upcoming shredding events.

When I organize paperwork with clients I always advise that they destroy outdated documents or mail with:

Account numbers

Medical record numbers

Birth dates


Social security numbers

Passwords or PINs

Protect yourself further by destroying documents with your name, address, email and phone number.

It isn’t in my practice to destroy junk mail addressed to “resident” or if it only has our name and address on it. The internet has this information readily available. This doesn’t mean you should do as I say. If you are more comfortable destroying mail with your name and address on it, then destroy it.

Set your shredder near your mail sorting area. If space is limited then label a file or container “to shred” to provide a home for those documents until the next shred event or you get a chance to destroy them.

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