Should I shred documents with only name and address details?

  • I routinely shred documents with any personal information on them to protect myself and others against identity theft. I have no doubts that shredding any documents with ID numbers, account details and the like is a good idea, however I am wondering whether there is any protection to be gained when documents just have my name and address details on them.

    My name does not instantly pop up on a google search of my street address, however I have no doubt that someone with a real interest could use internet resources or social engineering to discover it without leaving their seat. It seems unlikely that anyone would go to the trouble of recycle bin diving (dumpster diving is so 20th century) just to learn who lives in my house.

    Will shredding documents that only have my name and address details on them protect me against identity theft, or offer any other information security benefit?

    I generally don't bother to shred things unless they have account information or other personal identifying information on them. Half the time boxes are left near my mailbox unattended. I'm sure if someone wanted to they could figure out my address. On the other hand, shredding things is fun!

  • Jonathan

    Jonathan Correct answer

    7 years ago

    Shredding this information should provide some minimal protection against identity theft, and would be a good idea. However, people can still usually find this information (e.g. online, or in a phone book), so the protection gained from shredding this information is limited.

    However, there is usually other information attached to the document which could be useful to potential identity thieves, and others wishing to do bad things. This makes it more compelling to shred this information, but I would still say the risk is fairly low (depending on who you are and what the document is). If you are a business executive (e.g. like Bill Gates), or some other "high value target", I would highly suggest shredding this information. Furthermore, if the document contains any sensitive information (e.g. medical or financial records), I would definitely shred the document instead of throwing it away.

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Content dated before 7/24/2021 11:53 AM