Do I Need to Shred Receipts?
They fatten up wallets and pile up in purses: receipts, those little souvenirs we get when we spend money. Some of you may remember the days when stores printed your entire credit or debit card number on the receipt—which now seems unthinkable! It’s definitely safer now that just the last four numbers of our cards printed on receipts. But does that mean they are totally secure? Should you be shredding all of your receipts?
At TrueShred, we take security quite seriously. In fact, it’s quite one of our biggest goals and points of business! And when it comes to forms of documentation, we tend to take a fairly solid stance on destruction for the sake of safety. But at the same time, receipts can be of some use on occasion, which begs the question: when do I shred and when do I keep? If you’ve got receipts hanging about in your Maryland home or business, well then today we’re going to help you decide what’s for the best!
When to Shred Receipts
Generally speaking, it would take a sophisticated identity thief to glean usable information from a receipt with just your name and the last four numbers of your credit or debit card. However—this is a “better safe than sorry” situation. If you have the time and inclination to shred or tear up your store receipts at the end of the day, week, month, or quarter, you certainly should, even if it’s just for peace of mind.
It’s particularly important to pursue shredding or other safe forms of disposal when we’re talking about a few specific types of receipts. Medical receipts, for one, which are almost more of an account statement than a receipt specifically. And on the subject of medical, you tend to want to dispose of any receipts or documents that hold information like your: address, legal name, or account balances.
Why? Because there are all flavors of scams out there, and an unsavory character doesn’t necessarily need much of your information to accomplish a few of them. Plus we’re not too fond of handing out address info in the first place.
Caveat: Don’t shred receipts for anything you might need or want to return—hold on to those until you are sure you are going to keep the purchase.
Note: Thermal paper (which is what most receipts are printed on) is NOT recyclable! In fact, the chemicals used to bond the ink to the paper are toxic and can contaminate the recycling stream. If you shred thermal paper receipts, toss out the shreds.
Alternatives to Paper Receipts
To stem the tide of paper and printed personal info, some folks are opting to receive their receipts electronically when they can. More and more retailers are giving customers the option to have their receipts emailed to them. Of course, this means handing over your email address to a big company, but remember that you can always unsubscribe if they start sending you unwanted emails.
When an electronic receipt isn’t an option, you can still keep your wallet or purse mostly clear of receipts by either snapping a photo of them with your phone before discarding them or using an app to keep track of your receipts and expenditures. Some people like personal finance programs with lots of features, while others prefer simple apps that track spending.
Get more tips on what to shred and what to keep!
When You Shouldn’t Shred
Are there situations where you should maintain receipts? Well, a few come to mind. For one, we like to keep receipts for the year regarding our proof of purchase for the purpose of a warranty. We also keep receipts where we need proof of purchase for reimbursal, from our business or similar service. Papers for taxes are wise to keep around, too, if you intend to claim deductible purchases. Essentially, you’ll want to hold onto receipts when they represent proof of something you have done, purchased, or made good on a payment for.
It’s not an unwise policy to retain important (you needn’t hold onto that fast food paper; clutter is a problem all its own) receipts and reports for the year, until your dealings have essentially completed and the paper no longer has any important use or meaning. We’re advocates of secure disposal, but we certainly don’t want anyone depriving themselves of critical information.
Secure Shredding in Maryland, Virginia, & DC with TrueShred
If you’re fond of tips, tricks, and important information regarding your home or small business documents, we’d recommend you keep up with our blog! It’s a great way for our team to touch base with you a bit better, and provide some further detail into the services we provide. And speaking of, if you’re in need of secure, safe, and reliable shredding, we’re more than happy to provide!