BBB Offers Guide on When to Dispose of Sensitive Documents

Released on: September 18, 2008, 7:46 am

Press Release Author: Cindy Stranad/Articulon

Industry: Non Profit

Press Release Summary: Properly destroying personal and financial documents is a key
step in ID theft prevention. The Better Business Bureau is offering a guide on when
to shred sensitive documents.

Media Contacts:
Cindy Stranad
(919) 232-5008 x101

Beverly Baskin, BBB
(919) 277-4202

RALEIGH, N.C. (September 18, 2008) With identity theft becoming an increasing
threat for Americans, now is the time to take steps toward protecting your identity.
The Better Business Bureau (BBB) warns that, when it comes to reviewing and cleaning
out financial records, failing to shred sensitive documents can put everyone at risk
of identity theft.

The BBB of Eastern North Carolina will host local shredding events for individuals
and small businesses on Saturday, Sept. 20 at Ridgewood Shopping Center (3514 Wade
Ave., Raleigh, NC 27607) and Falls River Town Center (1151 Falls River Ave.,
Raleigh, NC 27614). The free events will be held from 9:00 a.m. to 1:00 p.m.

Last year alone 8.1 million Americans became victims of ID theft resulting in the
loss of $45 billion, according to a 2008 report from Javelin Strategy and Research.
The report notes that, contrary to popular belief, only 12 percent of ID theft is
perpetrated online. The vast majority of ID theft occurs when the thief has direct
contact with the victims personal information such as through a stolen or lost
wallet, or by rifling through the victims mailbox or trash.

When people think of ID theft they almost immediately focus on hackers and online
security, says Beverly Baskin, president and CEO of BBB of Eastern North Carolina.
But the truth is most ID theft happens when people have failed to secure or
properly destroy important financial information including paper documents, IDs, and
credit cards.

Properly destroying personal and financial documents is a key step in ID theft
prevention and BBB offers the following guide on when to shred sensitive documents:

Canceled checks
Canceled checks with no long-term significance for tax or other purposes can be
destroyed after one year. However, canceled checks that support tax returns, such as
charitable contributions or tax payments, should be held for at least seven years
long enough to cover the six-year tax assessment period. BBB advises that consumers
indefinitely keep any canceled checks and related receipts or documents for a home
purchase or sale, renovations or other improvements to owned property, and
non-deductible contributions to an Individual Retirement Account.

Deposit, ATM, credit card and debit card receipts
Consumers should save credit, debit, and ATM receipts until the transaction appears
on their statement and they have verified that the information is accurate.

Credit card and bank account statements
Credit card and bank account statements with no tax or other long-term significance
can be discarded after a year; remaining statements should be kept for up to seven
years. If a consumer receives a detailed annual statement, they should keep it and
shred the corresponding monthly statements.

Credit card contracts and other loan agreements
Credit card contracts and loan agreements should be kept for as long as the account
is active in case the consumer has a dispute with their lender over the terms of the

Documentation of a purchase or sale of stocks, bonds and other investments
Investors should retain documentation of a purchase or sale for as long as they own
the investment and then seven years beyond that time. Monthly retirement and monthly
investment account statements can be shredded annually after being reconciled with
the year-end statement.

Paycheck Stubs
Paycheck stubs can be shredded yearly after the income has been reconciled with a
W-2 or other tax forms.

Utility or monthly bills
Monthly bills should be shredded the year after being received by the consumer. This
way, if its a power bill, for example, consumers can compare this months bill to
last years bill for any major changes before shredding it.

Shred-it Checklist - Dont just toss it, shred it!
Documents that include Social Security numbers, birthdates, PIN numbers or passwords
Banking documents and other financial information
Leases, contracts or letters that include signatures
Pre-approved credit card applications
Medical or dental bills
Travel itineraries
Used airline tickets
For more information on document shredding and BBBs September 20 events, visit

About BBB of Eastern North Carolina:
The Better Business Bureau of Eastern North Carolina is a 501 (c)(6) not-for-profit
corporation serving 33 counties in Eastern North Carolina. The organization is
funded primarily by BBB Accredited Business fees from more than 3,200 local business
and professional firms. The BBB promotes integrity, consumer confidence and business
ethics through business self-regulation in the local marketplace. Services provided
by the BBB include, reports on companies and charitable organizations, general
monitoring of advertising in the marketplace, dispute resolution services, and
consumer/business education programs. All services are provided at no cost to the
public, with the occasional exception of mediation and arbitration. Visit

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Web Site:

Contact Details: Media Contacts:
Cindy Stranad
(919) 232-5008 x101

Beverly Baskin, BBB
(919) 277-4202

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