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8 Things You Should Shred Right Now

Credit card offers
Unless you're going to actually take the bank up on its offer and open an account, you should destroy these mailed offers right away.

"A lot of identity theft happens within families, so don't leave them lying around," Neiser warns. "Somebody in the house who knows your basic information could fill it out."

Whether you need to shred or simply rip up the offer is a matter of disagreement among advisers. The priority is making sure someone doesn't open a card in your name, but since there shouldn't be any information such as your Social Security number on these offers, you probably don't need to obliterate them into tiny pieces.

"Offers are good to tear up -- I put them in the kitchen trash, around food items," Neiser says.

Still, tearing it up may not be enough to stop someone from opening up a credit card and shredding your credit rating. A couple of years ago, we reported on someone who tore up a credit card offer, then taped it back together, sent it in and got a credit card from Chase.

Old photo IDs
Maybe you like to save your old college ID and security badges from previous employers for sentimental reasons; we won't begrudge you a little scrap-booking.

But if you want to dispose of them, consider using a shredder. While a photo ID alone isn't enough to steal your identity, keep in mind that the ID -- and the information it contains -- could be used as part of a larger identity theft scheme to bypass fraud prevention measures.

"A driver's license has height, weight and date of birth -- biometric information they can use to verify an account," Beltran says.

Pay stubs
It might not seem like it at first glance, but your pay stub is rife with information that can be used by a skilled identity thief.

"Absolutely shred your pay stubs," Blank says. "Some [financial] institutions will ask you as validation the amount of your last deposit; if they have that pay stub, they can give the bank that information."

He adds that the information contained there can also provide a fraudster with other targets.

"They'll know who your health care provider is, and what bank accounts you have," he says.
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