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Shredder Fights Tax Season Fraud

Shred Nations offers tips to help protect yourself from identity thieves in the tax season


(March 16, 2007) -- April 15th is approaching and Americans are heading to their shoeboxes and file cabinets to locate sales receipts, financial statements, and mortgage statements. For many people the filing cabinet looks more like a recycling bin than an organized system.

While a messy filing system may seem to be just an inconvenience at tax time, it can be a liability. According to Javelin Strategy & Research's annual report on identity theft, paper documents remain the primary source for identity thieves. If you do not track, organize and shred your documents your risk for identity theft goes up.

This is especially true during tax season, says Steven Hastert, president of Shred Nations, a company who offers shredding services to residences and businesses. "Every house in America receives documents that list all the information an identity thief needs on one sheet of paper."

While tax documents are a risk, Hastert says the bigger risk is not having a routine system for filing and shredding household documents. "We get calls every day from people who stopped shredding because they have burned up one too many shredders. The volume at a typical household seems to overwhelm the machines."

Shred Nations (http://www.shrednations.com) solves the problem with a service called Ship 'n' Shred. FedEx will pick up your shredding box and deliver it to a certified shredding facility. You can track the materials the whole way. Most homes need the service every six to twelve months he estimates.

Hastert also offers four simple rules he believes will help anyone defend against identity theft:

1) Manage your mailbox. Use a locked mailbox and bring in mail everyday. Make a note of when bills normally arrive. Thieves often intercept bills to steal information or prevent detection.

2) Use a shredding box to collect junk mail and bills once they have been paid. When the box is full, use Ship 'n' Shred (http://www.shipnshred.com) to shred the materials.

3) Don't save unneeded documents. Some examples of things that should be shredded immediately are pay stubs, while bills can be shredded once they are posted to your account.

4) Do an annual cleanout on your filing cabinet. Expired documents only clutter up your files and can be stolen. After filing your taxes take a few moments to put all the documents past their usefulness into your shredding box.

SOURCE: Shred Nation

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