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Identity Theft: What Documents Should You Shred Or Store?

In a day and age when technology has converted virtually all information to computers, why does it seem that we are producing even more paper than ever?  It is really important to practice diligent shred-or-store habits, especially when it comes to documents that you receive from various financial advisors and other financial institutions.  Identity thieves often obtain sensitive information from the garbage.  As we have stated before, we strongly recommend that you buy a personal shredder for your home in order to properly dispose of personal documents.  When storing original documents you rarely need, we recommend that you store these documents securely in a bank safety deposit box.  For others, please consider purchasing a fire and burglar resistant safe for your home as well as a locked filing cabinet.  By storing these documents securely, it may not only save you a great amount of time, but it will also reduce your chances of falling victim to identity thieves.     

Given all the financial documents most individuals receive, it is easy to get confused on which documents are important enough to keep and which should be tossed.  Listed below is a quick rundown of which documents we recommend to shred and which to safely store:

SHRED                                                                                                                       Pre-approved credit offers                                                                                         Charge receipts                                                                                                         Credit applications                                                                                                Insurance Forms                                                                                                         Past bank statements                                                                                             Expired charge cards

Brokerage statements
College financial aid (keep until ten years after loan is repaid)
Credit report (keep until new one arrives)
Employee benefits
Insurance policies/invoices (keep until a year after replacing policy)
Loan statements (keep until ten years after loan is repaid)
Property tax assessment (keep until new one arrives)
Real estate deeds (keep until ten years after property is sold)
Retirement plan benefits
Stock/bond certificates (keep until security is sold)
Trusts (keep until new one is signed)
Wills (keep until new one is signed) 

For further information, contact Louis P. Stanasolovich, CFPä  at (412) 635-9210 or e-mail him at

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