Which documents should I shred?

In a world that is becoming increasingly digital, it is important to remember documents that may contain personal or financial information on them. Properly storing or disposing of sensitive documents can help reduce the risk of any type of fraud.

Photo Credit: ForAnyInfo.com


Pinnacle Bank has released tips on how long to keep and when to shred sensitive documents:

  • ATM Receipts—Keep them until they are compared with your bank account via online or paper statements.
  • Tax Returns—The IRS suggests keeping tax returns for three years. After that point, they should be shredded to protect the personal and financial information on them.
  • Monthly Account Statements—Similarly, account statements should be kept for three years. Afterwards, the statements should be shredded. Pinnacle Bank also suggests switching to electronic statements.
  • Plastic Cards—An expired card should always be shredded.
  • Paycheck Stubs—There isn’t a need to keep paycheck stubs unless you are applying for a loan. If that is the case, only the latest stub is needed. Shred the rest.
  • Insurance Policies, Claims and Payment Information—Information regarding insurance policies should be kept as long as you have that policy. An insurance agent should be able to give you a time frame of how long policies and payment information should be kept before it gets shredded.
  • Loan Information—Whether it is a loan for a car, house or something else, paperwork regarding the loan should only be kept as long as it is needed. Once you are through with it, shred it.

For other documents, it is fair to say that if there is personal or financial information on it, shred it.

While you do keep the sensitive documents, be sure that they are stored in a safe place. When you are ready to dispose of them, shredders can be purchased for home use, or there are shredding services that destroy documents for a fee. Keep an eye out for free shred days that are offered throughout your community.