Operation Shredding to destroy tax documents, credit card statements, & checks you no longer need

How long should you keep sensitive documents?

WEST PALM BEACH, Fla. - WPTV NewsChannel 5 is helping you protect your identity. "Operation Shredding" will take place on Thursday, June 27, from 6 a.m. to 6:30 p.m. at the Palm Beach Kennel Club.

For maximum privacy, you should shred any item that contains personal information like your name, address, phone number, or email. While it doesn't seem like enough information to steal your identity, it can happen if thieves piece together enough information about you from enough sources. Credit card applications should always be shredded.

If you don't want to shred all your mail, you should at least shred a document with sensitive information like an account number, social security number, passwords/PINS, date of birth, or signature. 

With many businesses allowing you to access your documents digitally, there are fewer reasons to keep personal and sensitive information. Just understand, most companies only allow you to access the information for free for a few years. Typically, you can pay a fee to get digital copies of archived paperwork.

Tax records are should be kept the longest of any document. The rule of thumb has long been seven years, but many consumer experts now say three years. Decide the statute of limitations for your filing status . In general, the IRS has three years to audit your return if it suspects you made a mistake. The IRS can audit you up to six years if you underreported your gross income by 25 percent or more.

Many banks post credit card and account statements online, so there's less reason to hold onto these documents. If you want to be safe, hold onto them for a year max. Otherwise, destroy these statements more frequently. It's really a personal decision.

You can throw away any inactive credit card or loan agreements. It's a good habit to keep the final letter that states you closed the account just in case it is inaccurately reflected on your credit report.

Keep warranty information for products until they expire. After that, the paperwork is useless.

If you still write checks, shred them after they have cleared your bank. Checks have your bank account, routing number, and often your address and phone number on them making them an easy target for thieves.

Free shredding will take place Thursday, June 27 from 6 a.m. to 6:30 p.m. at the following location:

Palm Beach Kennel Club
1111 N. Congress Ave., West Palm Beach


Note: There is a six-box limit per car


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