On Saturday, June 25, 2011, the Better Business Bureau serving Chicago and Northern Illinois, in conjunction with various government agencies, invites consumers and businesses to protect their identities by shredding unwanted personal, financial or confidential documents for free at the annual “Shred It and Forget It” Shredder Day at the United Center Parking Lot E, in Chicago, from 9AM-2PM. Electronics recycling also will be available. Crime statistics show that more than 8.1 million people became victims of identity theft in the past year making it the fastest growing crime in the U.S. Here are some suggestions for deciding how long to keep personal financial information:
- A good rule of thumb is to keep all tax returns and supporting documentation for seven years. The IRS has three years from your tax-filing date to audit, and has six years to challenge a claim.
- Keep credit card statements for seven years if tax related expenses are documented.
- Keep paycheck stubs for one year. Be sure to cross reference the paycheck stub to the W-2 form.
- Be sure to keep bank statements and cancelled checks for at least one year.
- Bills should be kept for one year or until the canceled check has been returned. Receipts for large ticket items should be kept for insurance purposes.
- Home improvement receipts should be kept for six years or permanently.
- Items such as birth certificates, social security cards, insurance policies, titles or wills should be kept permanently in a safety deposit box.
- If you are going to dispose of documents with sensitive information, be sure to shred.
More information about “Shred It and Forget It” Shredder Day can be found at www.chicagoshreds.com.