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3 Reasons Why It's Important to Shred Old Documents

3 Reasons Why It's Important to Shred Old Documents

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In an increasingly digital world, it's easy to overlook the importance of properly disposing of old documents. However, maintaining the security of your personal and confidential information is an important way to safeguard against identity theft and fraud.

Shredding old documents is a simple yet effective way to prevent your sensitive information from falling into the wrong hands. Keep reading to learn more about the importance of shredding old documents and how Apple FCU can help you safely dispose of them.

3 Reasons Why You Should Shred Old Documents

1. It can prevent identity theft.

Identity theft is easier than ever in today’s interconnected world. While many people believe their online information is the only way people can steal their identity, physical documents can leave you vulnerable to fraud as well.

There’s no law that prevents people from going through your trash. This is where many identity thieves get their hands on sensitive information that allows them to access your personal, professional and financial accounts. You can significantly decrease the likelihood of falling victim to this crime by properly disposing of documents with personal information.

Shredding old documents ensures that potential identity thieves cannot reconstruct or extract valuable information from discarded paperwork. By rendering the documents unreadable and irretrievable, you effectively reduce the risk of identity theft.

2. It frees up space in your home.

If you have boxes of old travel documents, medical records or expired legal documents taking up space in your home, shredding them is an effective way to dispose of them safely and free up room in your house.

Many people keep documents with sensitive information longer than they need to because they’re afraid of them falling into the wrong hands. There’s no reason to hang onto years-old documents just because they contain personal, professional or financial information. Shredding them allows you to create new space and eliminate the hassle of storing unnecessary documents.

3. It can help the environment.

Shredding old documents doesn't just protect your information. It also protects the environment!

Recycling at home is an important practice. Unfortunately, many people don’t know how to recycle properly. Just one unwashed plastic carton or piece of food waste can render an entire recycling bin useless. Luckily, shredding documents through a proper shredding company can reduce the likelihood of the recyclable material going to waste.

Shredded paper can be recycled, which reduces the demand for fresh paper production and ultimately conserves natural resources. By shredding and recycling your old documents, you contribute to waste reduction and demonstrate your commitment to environmentally responsible practices.

What to Shred

Lots of people who hold onto old documents do so because of one simple question: what if I need them in the future?

There are some hard-and-fast rules regarding how long you should keep documents before shredding them. Here are some ways you can categorize items that can be shredded and items that you should hang onto for now:

  • Destroy immediately: Always destroy documents that contain personal information and are no longer needed, including airline tickets, credit card offers and ATM or gas receipts.
  • Destroy after one year: It's advised that you hold onto medical bills, banks statements and payment confirmations for at least one year.
  • Destroy after seven years: The IRS recommends that you keep tax documents, such as W-2s and tax returns, up to seven years before properly destroying them.
  • Destroy after expiration date: Many important federal documents have expiration dates to ensure they're up to date. These include passports, driver's licenses, birth certificate copies and insurance policies.

Dispose of Old Documents at Apple’s FREE Shred Events

You don’t need to buy a paper shredder to properly dispose of old documents. Bring them out to one of Apple FCU’s FREE Shred Events!

Apple FCU hosts monthly Shred Events from July through November at branches across the Northern Virginia area. These events help protect our members’ personal and financial information and prevent fraud.

Learn more about how you can safely dispose of your old documents at one of our Shred Events!

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