Back in the olden days (a year ago), I would have easily thrown out old non-confidential school documents and work records with ancient addresses on them, instead of shredding them.
However now I know that when you’re a victim one identity theft, credit reporting agencies authenticate you by you confirming several old addresses. Yesterday I bit the bullet and decided to shred a foot high stack of documents.
How do you shred 10 years worth of documents?
Curious if there are shredding services for consumers needing massive amounts of documents destroyed, I searched for "document shredding" and my city. There do seem to be such services around the country.
Some other ideas:
1) If you live in cold climates, there’s always the option of making "paper logs" if you have someone to roll up your paper to burn – in your fireplace that is.
3) While I would never advocate using your employer’s confidential shredding bins to dump your personal files, you might decide that’s an option.
What else do you need to shred?
The FTC has a comprehensive laundry list of the kinds of documents you should shred:
"When you discard receipts, copies of credit applications, insurance
forms, physician statements, bank checks and statements, expired charge
cards, credit offers you get in the mail and mailing labels from
magazines, tear or shred them."
The mailing labels from magazines are particularly important to shred, and some magazine websites do not require authentication to change the address. (Yes, believe it or not it’s true.)
Recently a friend threw out some checks from a bank account he had closed 10 years earlier. Somehow a dumpster diver found them and ended up using his identity to throw a party in a nearby hotel. Amazingly the police found and arrested the thief.
The bottom line is if someone could find mail and call up the sender to say "Oh I’ve changed my address. It’s XYZ" that could be the start of your identity being stolen. Rather than worry, it’s simpler to remove yourself from as many mailing lists as possible then shred all instances of your address. Or to me it is anyway!