As Tax Day approaches thousands of Cincinnatians are pulling together information to file – it’s time to for trash talk and taxes.
All the paperwork, including a HUD 1 form if you bought or sold a home in 2015, is stacked, sorted and sifted in order to get all the info you need to fill out a variety of tax forms. If you’re like most people, while sorting through the stacks, you start tossing unneeded documents into the trash. And when bits and pieces of confidential information end up in your trash the opportunity for identify theft begins.
According to the Federal Trade Commission’s Consumers Bureau one of the most important things to do is shred personal documents. This includes shredding receipts, credit card applications and offers, insurance forms, medical information, checks, bank statements, expired charge cards, investment statements and any similar documents when you don’t need them any longer. Don’t own a shredder? Our area offers several locations where you can shred documents containing private information for a small fee or watch for local shredding events in your sponsored by local businesses. Personally, the timing was great and a local bank offered drive-up shredding on a a Saturday and I was holding several large trash bags full of documents from my parents home. Drove in and the volunteers emptied my trunk and I drove off as the paper hit the shredder in the back of the truck. Some organizations hold shredding days as a fund raiser and for a small donation your documents are no longer a target for identity thieves..
And while you’re protecting your identity by shredding paper documents don’t forget to protect your online identity too. Many real estate companies have started using secure “platforms” to hold clients personal information and provide buyers and sellers with secure access via portals. The systems are sometime difficult to navigate-but security is better for all the parties involved in a real estate deal if the data is not just sent via email attachments for sitting some fax machine in the middle of an office.