Biz Bulletin: Shred paperwork you no longer need

Biz Bulletin: Shred paperwork you no longer need

April 19th, 2013 By Jim Winsett in Business Diary

BBB Chief Exective Jim Winsett

Photo by Leigh Shelle Hunt

Q. I want to take advantage of the BBB "Shred Day" event this weekend. Do you know what personal documents I should shred and how long important documents should be retained?

A. Identity theft is an enormous fraud problem in our national marketplace. But more importantly, there are a number of steps you can take to secure your personal information.

Sadly, over half of identity theft victims can trace the theft to something that was stolen from their possession. So here is the first rule: If you do not need it, shred it -- responsibly. Better Business Bureau is urging businesses and consumers alike to take advantage of BBB's Secure Your ID Day featuring free, on-site shredding today and Saturday. BBB will accept documents for shredding today at DuPont Community Credit Union, 4503 Hixson

Pike, and on and Saturday at Lee Corners, intersection of Lee Hwy and Hwy 153. The hours are 9 a.m. to noon both days, or until the trucks are full.

Do not know what to shred and what to keep? Here is a quick run-down:

• Keep for three years: bank statements, expired insurance policies, employment applications, and more

• Keep for seven years: invoices, cancelled stock certificates, payroll records, withholding statements, and more

• Keep permanently: deeds, mortgages, tax returns, audit reports, insurance records, legal correspondence, property records, and more

• Check out our full records retention schedule at www.chattanooga.bbb.org/dispute-resolution-services/identity-theft-resources online for more details.

Businesses, do you know how to protect your customers' data and privacy? Learn everything you need to know with BBB's "Data Security -- Made Simpler," www.bbb.org/data-security/.

For more information on BBB's Secure Your ID Day and for a full list of participating BBBs, visit www.bbb.org/us/secure-your-id.

Get answers to your questions each Friday from Jim Winsett, president and CEO of the Better Business Bureau Inc., which serves Southeast Tennessee and Northwest Georgia. Submit questions to his attention by writing to Business Editor Dave Flessner, Chattanooga Times Free Press, P.O. Box 1447, Chattanooga, TN, 37401-1447, or by e-mailing him at dflessner@ timesfreepress.com.