Okay, so it’s a really remote possibility that someone is going to rummage through your home’s garbage or paper recycling looking to find personal or financial details they could use to hurt you financially, but it could happen.
More likely, however, someone might come across your personal details through recycling bins at your work or at the workplace of companies you do business with.
Still, it’s a good idea to shred personal papers instead of simply recycling them.
Some of the most important papers to shred include credit card statements, insurance papers, bank statements, credit card receipts, credit applications and even unsolicited credit card offers that arrive in the mail with your name already on them.
You can shred as much as you like. It’s kind of cathartic. It’s almost fun.
If you receive mail at work, don’t just throw any detailed mail into the office recycling either. Don’t put something juicy into the office recycling that someone else might take out and read.
Put any important mail into your purse or bag and take it back home to shred.
And if you are recycling electronics, such as a computer or smart phone, you need to do something before you drop it off at Best Buy or wherever else you are taking it.
Be sure to get rid of any data that is on your computer’s hard drive before you recycle it.
Simply deleting all of your hard drive’s files isn’t enough. Deleted files are actually still on your computer, they are just not labeled. A professional can still recover all those deleted files.
You should find a way to write over those files or destroy them. You can either purchase a program that will write over your entire drive or you could physically open up your computer and take out your hard drive and destroy it.
Use the same caution when getting rid of your smart phone as well. You phone’s manufacturer will have guidelines on how to safely replace your device.
Don’t just throw it into a bin someplace without thinking about it first.