Spring is well under way and while some of us are muddling through allergies or preparing for the end of the school year, many are diving into the annual ritual of spring cleaning. Piles of junk mail, boxes of old account statements and bills, unopened credit card offers—there are pounds of paper to sort through.
You may be tempted to chuck it all in the trash bin, but you ought to take a closer look at what sensitive information you’re making readily available to potential thieves. Many items, such as your BVSCU monthly statement, contain valuable personal information to scammers who have no qualms about rooting through your easily accessible trash.
Think twice before you trash it and follow these helpful hints to stay safe this spring!
How to Safely and Securely Dispose of Sensitive Documents (and Still have a Successful Spring Cleaning)
- Let BVSCU shred it for you! Gather sensitive documents like old statements, bills, and invoices and bring them to your FREE credit union shred days. BVSCU offers safe, secure, free shredding of any documents you need as a service to our members.
- Remove your identifying information. Cut or tear your name, address, and any identifying information from envelopes and letters before recycling old mail.
- Invest in a cross-shredder. Keep a cross-shredder machine near where you usually open mail. Now you can easily cross-shred junk mail and won’t accidentally throw it away later. Thieves love unopened credit card offers!
- Careful what you burn. If you plan on incinerating your junk mail in the barbecue or fire pit, be careful! You may be exposing yourself to toxic fumes if you burn certain commonly included plastics.
- Cut it up and spread it out. When disposing of an old credit or debit card, consider demagnetizing the strip by running a strong magnet over it, then cut or shred the card into small pieces and dispose of the pieces over several garbage days. You can also simply bring the cards to your credit union or bank for safe shredding!
Don’t Forget! Prevent Future Unsecure Mail and Waste
- Sign up for e-Statements. Receive your statements electronically and avoid the possibility of stolen, lost, or improperly discarded mail all together. If you need a statement later, you can always print it from any computer. The process is easy, simply log into your online banking and enroll today! You can sign up here.
- Opt out of mailing lists. Contact the sender of junk mail directly to opt out. Limit future junk mail by contacting the DMA & Marketing Association; they will allow you to remove your name from most national telemarketing, mail, and email lists.
- Opt out of credit card and insurance offers Contact the Consumer Credit Reporting Industry to opt out of most credit and insurance offers for up to five years.
- Stay informed! Learn about unwanted mail and safety at USA Government – Telemarketing
by Kaya Simmons, Membership Development Representative