Fraud Watch: Remember to shred those important documents

Posted at 10:16 AM, May 03, 2018
and last updated 2018-05-03 12:16:13-04

HELENA – Scammers are always looking for ways to get a hold of your personal information – that’s why it’s essential you get rid of any old personal documents you might have lying around the house.

Many of us are guilty of having old papers lying around, some with account information, Social Security numbers and bank numbers — exactly the information that scammers are looking to get their hands on.

"All they need are a few vital pieces of information. If they can get a hold of those, they could open an account in your name or do something in your name that could cause you harm and damage years into the future," said AARP Montana State Director Tim Summers.

But don’t fear, Summers says there’s something you can do, "shredding documents. That’s very very key way that we keep our privileged information, our important information, out of their hands."

If you think you’re safe just throwing away your personal information, think again, scammers aren’t afraid to go through your trash. Bank statements, old checkbooks, past tax returns — all of those things AARP recommends shredding. 

While it may be time consuming, making sure your information doesn’t fall into the wrong hands could save you a head ache in the long run.

As for the information that you aren’t ready to shred just yet Summers says, "we all have documents that we need to safeguard. Like our most recent tax returns. Keep them in a safe place under lock and key that you and your loved ones can get a hold of."

A recent AARP study found most people agree shredding is important, but nearly half don’t follow through. so take the time to shred those documents.

AARP hosted shredding events across the country last year as part of "operation stop scams" and over one million pounds of sensitive documents were destroyed.