Credit card identity theft is one of the fastest growing crimes in the country. As criminals become more brazen and technology savvy, protecting the integrity of your credit report and credit history becomes even more important. Important information on bills, canceled or blank checks, investment and credit card statements are easy prey for identity thieves. Also, income tax records, medical records, and credit reports are a wealth of information for these crooks.
Many consumers simply toss important documents into the trash once they no longer need them. But is that sufficient? I would say no. You need to start shredding your documents. Criminals are extremely resourceful; they go through peoples garbage and other means to obtain any information necessary to steal your identity.
In most cases very little information is required; your Social Security is enough to apply for credit cards, bank accounts, loans, apartments, cellular phones, and utility accounts. The Federal Trade Commission (FTC) is getting tough with any person that possesses consumer personal information for business purposes. Whether the business is a sole proprietorship or a multinational corporation, the FTC is clear in stating that sensitive data must be maintained or disposed of in a secure manner.
Herein, businesses that employ consumers personal data such as, lenders, banks, auto dealers, hospitals, investment firms, doctors, real estate agents, credit card companies, employers, and more must be vigilant in protecting peoples information. The businesses must pulverize, burn, or shred paper documents and thoroughly destroy or erase all electronic media.
Somehow the general public shies away from using a cost effective shredder to protect their identity. Here is a list of the most important documents you should shred:
Consider getting a crosscut shredder that cuts paper horizontally and vertically, provides more protection than the traditional strip-cut shredder.
Your personal information is too critical to be ignored when it comes to protecting your identity. You can only worry about what you have control over; you have control over who you give access to your personal information to and the method of disposing your personal information. By being vigilant in both areas you can go a long way in safeguarding yourself against identity theft.