It’s tax time, and many of us are going through personal paperwork, wondering what information to keep and how to safely dispose of what we no longer need to hold onto. You can streamline your record-keeping as well as protect yourself by showing care when Reducing, Reusing & Recycling.
Reduce – Go Paperless
Take advantage of technology to reduce paper statements mailed to you. Set up paperless statements, automatic payment reminders, and automatic payment of bills from your bank. Use online storage systems such as Dropbox or Google Drive to file electronic documents.
Reuse – Don’t let dumpster divers “reuse” your paperwork or electronics to steal your identity!
Be careful how you dispose of paperwork that may contain personal information. According to a 1988 U.S. Supreme Court ruling, we don’t have a right to privacy regarding trash if we leave it out on the curb and not on our property. So, technically, unless a local ordinance forbids it, dumpster diving is legal.
What are identity thieves looking for when they rifle through your trash?
Documents that contain social security numbers
Pre-approved credit card offers
Bank and other financial account information
Recycle -- Learn how to safely dispose of personal information
Computers and mobile devices shouldn’t go to the landfill, but before you hand your old devices over to a Certified Electronic Recycling Facility, take care to get rid of all the personal information on it using a program such as DiskWipe or PC Disk Eraser to wipe or overwrite the entire hard drive. Consider having the hard drive physically removed and securely destroyed. Before disposing of a mobile device, transfer the contents you want to retain and then permanently wipe the device. And be sure to remove the memory and SIM card before recycling, selling, or giving the device away.
Lauren E. Robbins (CA Insurance Lic. #0K57671) is a Registered Representative and an Investment Adviser Representative with/and offers securities and advisory services through Commonwealth Financial Network®, member FINRA/SIPC, a registered investment adviser. Fixed Insurance products and services offered through CES Insurance Agency. Hawekotte Financial Group is located at 2248 N. State College Blvd., Fullerton, CA 92831. 714-879-4421.