The documents you should always shred

Jan 24, 2023 | Professional Shredding

It has to be said, most of us probably get fewer important things through the post than we used to. With the advent of email and online banking (and online most things) we’re most likely to get junk mail through our letterbox.

But many of us probably still have a fairly impressive amount of paperwork in our house. Whether it’s the car insurance renewal letter, old pay slips, bank statements or notes from the doctor, we can guarantee that all homes have some documentation they need to take good care of.

Some documents need to be held on to for specific reasons, but many don’t. There’s something cathartic about having a good clear out of paperwork – even if it isn’t the most interesting way to spend a Saturday night.

Most people appreciate that shredding is essential if you want to keep yourself safe from identity fraud. Destroying anything with contact details, financial information or personal data is a given. But it can seem like hard work…so sometimes things slip through the net. Everyone who has ever used a home shredder – which is likely to overheat every five minutes – will have felt that pain.

But don’t fear: McCarthy’s is here to help. We can offer a personal shredding or business shredding service in Leeds and beyond. For businesses, we can set up regular or one off shreds of your confidential paperwork – and for individuals we can send you a sack to be filled with paper and brought back to us to be destroyed in seconds on our industrial sized shredder. Looking for shredding services near me?

So what documents should you always destroy – and are there any you should never get rid of?

Those which should always be shredded include:

  • Letters from the bank/financial institutions – this one is an obvious, as they’re likely to include contact details, bank details and financial habits. A fraudster’s dream!
  • Old boarding passes/travel documents – this one might seem unusual, but the QR codes sometimes used can include all manner of personal data.
  • Prescriptions/medical letters – they’re likely to include your contact details, date of birth and NHS number – all very useful for someone up to no good.
  • Shipping notices/receipts – some online deliveries will come with a shipping notice. It’s easy to just send these into the bin with the packaging, but they can include financial information as well as contact details.
  • Pet related information – this one might seem strange, as your pet is unlikely to be hacked! But did you know millions of Brits use their pet’s name as their password? So making that info readily available to just anyone is probably not the best idea.
  • CVs – CVs or job applications are likely to include all manner of information about you which could enable someone to undertake identity theft.
  • Ad hoc notes – you might be surprised how much you have dotted around on post it notes, in notebooks, diaries and on scraps of paper. Your mum’s bank details to make that payment. Your friend’s phone number and birthday details. Better to be safe than sorry and shred them.

Documents you may need to hold on to for a short while (if they’re not also available online):

  • P45s/P60s – keep for seven years.
  • Bank statements – if they’re not available online keep them for a year (or seven if you’re self-employed).
  • Correspondence from HMRC – keep for seven years.
  • Bills – keep them for a year as proof of address and to compare future rates.
  • Insurance/mortgage documentation – for as long as they are relevant.
  • Proof of service/MOT/car ownership – keep for as long as you have the vehicle.
  • Property deeds/documentation relating to home improvements – keep for as long as you remain in the property, as you’ll need them when you come to sell.
  • Receipts/warranties – keep until they expire.

When it comes to documents you should never get rid of, these include death, birth, marriage and divorce certificates, along with wills, passports, your National Insurance card and any qualification certificates.

Looking for confidential shredding near me? We offer document disposal services for both businesses and individuals. To find out more, get in touch.

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