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Shred It Or Toss It?

Shred It Or Toss (Recycle) It?

The consumer reports statistics around identity theft and fraud from 2020 are staggering. If you get anxious going through the mail, you're not alone. You may wonder if there is anything you can throw away. Well, some experts recommend shredding anything with your name on it, including junk mail, old boarding passes, and expired identification.

Since 2001, the number of reported identity theft, fraud, or other data-related crimes has increased over 1,000%! The Federal Trade Commission (FTC) reported that in 2020, there were 2.2 million fraud cases, 1.4 million identity thefts, and 1.2 million additional types of consumer-related crimes. Victims of fraud last year collectively lost over $3.3 billion, with the average loss being $311.  

Most Common Cause Of Identity Theft

Many identity theft cases resulted due to carelessly discarded, stolen, or lost paper documents. According to the FTC's 2020 Consumer Sentinel Network Report, Government Documents or Benefits Fraud tops the list of identity theft types reported in 2020. The FTC received 406,375 reports of information misused to apply for a government document or benefit, such as unemployment insurance.

What To Do If You’re a Victim

If you believe someone stole your information, the FTC recommends you take the following steps immediately:

  1. Contact the companies where the fraud occurred
  2. Place a fraud alert on your credit reports
  3. Report identity theft to the FTC
  4. Possibly file a report with your local police department

Then the FTC says, “take a deep breath and begin to repair the damage.”  Find the next steps at: identitytheft.gov/Steps

Consumer Reports In Indiana

Indiana consumers reported almost 45,000 incidences of fraud, identity theft, and other consumer crimes in 2020, resulting in $31.6 million in losses. Identity Theft was the number one consumer reported crime (28%), followed by Imposter Scams (12%), and Online Shopping and Negative Reviews (8%).

IRS Identity Theft Protection

The Internal Revenue Service (IRS) now uses 155 identity theft filters to weed out potentially fraudulent returns and prevent issuing fraudulent refunds. While not a perfect system, as of March 4, 2021, the filters identified over 850,000 tax returns that were potentially fraudulent and needed further review. The IRS also confirmed in March that almost 2,500 of those returns were fraudulent.  

Do Your Part

Identity thieves know that the old-fashioned way of stealing data still works - picking it out of your trash (or recycle bin). Don’t help out the criminals by throwing away sensitive documents. Do your part to protect your identity by shredding sensitive material.   

What To Shred

  • Tax returns (older than 7 years)
  • Legal documents
  • Business Documents
  • Bank Statements
  • Voided Checks
  • Employee Paystubs
  • Credit Card Receipts
  • Financial Reports
  • Medical Records
  • Real Estate Forms

Come Shred With Us!

If you'll be in Bloomington, Indiana, on June 19, 2021, grab your old documents and join us for a shredding breakfast party! We have partnered with Shredding & Storage Unlimited to offer a free shredding event to help you safely and securely dispose of your unwanted documents and sensitive material. Our partner's mobile truck will be shredding papers while we all enjoy breakfast and a great time catching up with friends and acquaintances. As always, we highly encourage you to invite your colleagues, clients, friends, and family!


Email Stacey at sisom@hurlowwealth.com by June 15 indicating the following information:

  • Number of guests in your party
  • Approximate number of file boxes you intend on bringing
  • Any dietary restrictions


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