When people mention identity theft, it’s only natural that your mind goes to the internet, dark web and digital identity theft. However, you’d be surprised to learn about the number of people actively digging through your trash to find information on your identity. Statistics from the Green Team indicate that Americans receive more than 4 million tons of junk mail every year.
Consequently, trash cans tend to be a treasure trove of data for identity thieves. Here are tips to help protect your identity from dumpster-diving thieves.
What Information Can Thieves Steal from my Trash?
Mail that gets thrown away can include credit card offers, credit card bills, credit card statements, and bank statements with account numbers that include your personal information.
Through this mail, identity thieves can collect all kinds of sensitive information. For example, they can get your bank account information and potentially end up getting access to your account.
It might seem like an over-exaggeration, but many people out there throw away their mail without paying enough attention. Unfortunately, you can end up giving away crucial personal information just by being a little careless.
By getting access to this information, thieves can commit many common identity theft scams. That’s why it’s so important to pay attention to how you get rid of your documents.
How Should I Throw Away Sensitive Documents to Prevent ID Theft?
While many people tend to toss away their mail in the trash, just by being a little more vigilant, you can help avoid a lot of trouble.
One of the easiest ways to help ensure that your personal information isn’t at risk for identity theft is shredding documents. However, it’s also possible to sufficiently cut the documents enough yourself at home.
Instead of using scissors, a punch hole can help you be more precise with sensitive information and ensure no chance of recovery. After running the documents through a punch machine, you can cut up the remaining pieces with scissors.
Aside from that, if you’re not dealing with many documents, water can be a very effective way of ensuring that you erase sensitive information. Just dump the documents in the water for a while, and they’ll be damaged to the point where you can’t read the information.
Other Tips to Protecting Yourself from Identity Theft
Identity theft is a lot more common than people think. Your information is at risk. Here are some things you can do to help protect yourself. Check your credit reports regularly or sign up for identity theft protection through a monitoring service such as IdentityIQ.
You can receive real-time fraud and Social Security number as well alerts, dark web monitoring, credit reports and scores from the three major credit bureaus, and even identity theft insurance to help protect your identity. Plus, most identity theft protection plans are affordable.
Aside from that, it’s all about being as careful as possible with your sensitive documents. Taking the time to sort through and check your mail might seem tedious. Still, it can help ensure that you are protected about identity theft.
Protecting Your Trash
Even though most people expect that identity theft is more of a digital concern, dumpsters are a major source of information for identity thieves. That’s why it’s essential to pay attention and properly get rid of your documents. Just a little bit of effort can go a long way in protecting you from identity theft!