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What Should You Shred?
Did you know that most identity theft crimes occur when something containing your personal information is lost or stolen? Protecting yourself from identity theft is in your own hands. If you don't need it, shred it responsibly!
March 13, 2014

What needs to be shredded?

All private financial and personal documents should be shredded when you no longer need them. (And be sure to store them in a safe, locked place while you need them!). The following are a few items that people often overlook when it comes to shredding:

Canceled checks

Canceled checks with no long-term significance for tax or other purposes can be destroyed after one year. However, canceled checks that support tax returns, such as charitable contributions or tax payments, should be held for at least seven years – long enough to cover the six-year tax assessment period. BBB advises that consumers indefinitely keep any canceled checks and related receipts or documents for a home purchase or sale, renovations or other improvements to owned property, and non-deductible contributions to an Individual Retirement Account.

Deposit, ATM, credit card and debit card receipts

Consumers should save credit, debit, and ATM receipts until the transaction appears on their statement and they have verified that the information is accurate.

Credit card and bank account statements

Credit card and bank account statements with no tax or other long-term significance can be discarded after a year; remaining statements should be kept for up to seven years. If a consumer receives a detailed annual statement, they should keep it and shred the corresponding monthly statements.

Credit card contracts and other loan agreements

Credit card contracts and loan agreements should be kept for as long as the account is active in case the consumer has a dispute with their lender over the terms of the contract.

Documentation of a purchase or sale of stocks, bonds and other investments

Investors should retain documentation of a purchase or sale for as long as they own the investment and then seven years beyond that time. Monthly retirement and monthly investment account statements can be shredded annually after being reconciled with the year-end statement.

Paycheck Stubs

Paycheck stubs can be shredded yearly after the income has been reconciled with a tax forms.

Utility or monthly bills

Monthly bills should be shredded the year after being received by the consumer. This way, if it’s a power bill, for example, consumers can compare this month’s bill to last year’s bill for any major changes before shredding it. 

Shred-it Checklist - Don’t just toss it, shred it! 

  • Documents that include Social Insurance Numbers, birth dates, PIN numbers or passwords
  • Banking documents and other financial information
  • Leases, contracts or letters that include signatures
  • Pre-approved credit card applications
  • Medical or dental bills
  • Travel itineraries
  • Used airline tickets
BBB Shredding Events

Be sure to join BBB for our annual Secure Your ID Day - FREE Community Shredding Event. Learn More...