WOBURN -A recent study found that 11.5 million people in the United States are victims of identify fraud each year. The U.S. Department of Justice estimates the typical loss to individuals is more than $4,900.
Mayor Scott Galvin, along with the Agriculture Commission and the local office of Shred-it, is hosting a free event to help local residents fight back by properly disposing of outdated personal and financial documents. Residents are encouraged to bring all of those outdated papers and documents sitting in boxes around the house to Woburn City Hall, 10 Common Street on Saturday, October 17, 2020 from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. Disposal is free of charge to residents. Please bring documents in paper and plastic bags.
Shred-it specializes in providing a tailored document destruction service that allows businesses to comply with legislation and ensure that the client, employee and confidential business information is kept secure at all times.
“It’s more important than ever to protect our personal information as a way of fighting back against identity theft,” said Mayor Galvin. “This event delivers residents an easy way to identify and properly dispose of outdated personal information that could leave them exposed if it landed in the wrong hands.”
Here are some helpful tips about document retention and disposal:
Tax information and returns: Should be shredded. There is a general three-year statute of limitation for your taxes. This means the IRS has three years from when you file your return to start an audit (there is not time limit for fraudulent returns). Therefore, you need to keep documents that support items on your tax return for those three years. Each year, you can throw out the 3-year-old documents, but you should keep copies of tax returns forever.
Investment records and statements: Should be shredded. Investment records must be kept to support your tax returns. Documentation of purchases and sales must be kept for three years past when you report the sale on your tax return. It may be helpful to keep brokerage statements for many years.
Bank statements and canceled checks: Should be shredded. Some people keep every canceled check and others toss most of them. As a general rule, you should keep canceled checks that support any tax deductions and any that you think may come in handy. Otherwise, canceled checks can take up a lot of space.
Paycheck stubs: Should be shredded. These documents can include very important information including Social Security number, and financial institution account numbers if you use direct deposit. You may need to have the last three months’ stubs if you are planning to apply for a loan. Otherwise, you should only keep the latest stub.
ATM Receipts: Should be shredded. Keep ATM receipts until you have compared them with your bank statement. Then dispose of them carefully.
Credit Card Statements: Probably shred. Generally keep receipts until have compared them to your credit card statements
Utility bills and other household receipts: Probably safe to toss in trash. Unless you are claiming household expenses as tax deductions, there is no need to keep these types of records very long.
Insurance policies: Should be shredded. Insurance policies and claims information should be kept for as long as the policy.
Home financial information: Should be shredded. Deeds, mortgages and information on home improvements should be kept for as long as you own the home, plus three years for tax purposes.