Save or Shred?

Multicolored shredded financial statements.

Identity theft continues to be a major concern for individuals and businesses across the globe as cybercriminals grow increasingly clever at targeting and misleading their victims. By now you’ve probably grown accustomed to warnings about making frequent changes to your passwords, exercising caution while online shopping, and being weary of suspicious links. But when was the last time you gave thought to some of the confidential paperwork in your possession?


It might be easy to fall into the trap of saving every little piece of potentially important information “just in case,” but as the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) warns, hanging on to documents that contain personal information could make you more susceptible to identity theft.


Wondering what to keep and what to shred? The FTC offers these general retention guidelines for personal papers:

Shred Immediately
  • Sales or ATM receipts

  • Paid credit card statements

  • Paid utility bills

  • Credit offers

  • Expired warranties

  • Cancelled checks (that are not tax-related)

Keep One Year
  • Pay stubs

  • Bank statements

  • Paid/undisputed medical bills

Keep Seven Years
  • Tax-related receipts

  • Tax-related cancelled checks

  • W-2s

  • Records for tax deductions taken

It Depends…
  • Auto titles (as long as you keep the vehicle)

  • Home deeds (as long as you own the property)

  • Disputed medical bills (until resolved)

  • Home improvement receipts (until you sell home and pay any capital gains taxes)

Keep Forever
  • Birth certificates

  • Social security cards

  • Marriage or divorce decrees

  • Citizenship papers

  • Adoption papers

  • Death certificates

  • Tax returns


Local Shred Events

Want to dispose of your excess paperwork, but don’t have a home shredder? Community First partners with other area credit unions to host annual Secure Shred & Electronics Recycling events. It’s a great opportunity to safely and securely dispose of unnecessary paper documents – for FREE. Not to mention, you’ll be helping to save the environment and declutter your home in the process.

Upcoming Events:

Fox Cities Secure Shred & Electronics Recycling
Saturday, June 15, 8:00 - 11:00 am
Timber Rattlers Stadium, 2400 N Casaloma Dr, Appleton

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