A Comprehensive List Of Items That Must Be Shredded

a pile of shredded paper

We all accumulate paperwork over time. Bank statements, tax returns, old bills, and expired credit cards – the list goes on. But simply tossing these documents in the trash can be a recipe for disaster. Identity thieves and fraudsters can easily access sensitive information from discarded documents, leading to financial woes and a major headache for you.

The solution? Shredding! But what exactly needs to be shredded? Don’t worry; we’ve got you covered. Here’s a comprehensive list of items you should never throw away and shred instead.

Documents Requiring Shredding

It often surprises many individuals to discover that it is legal for someone to sift through someone else’s garbage once it has been set out for collection. So, to protect yourself from identity theft, be sure to shred the following documents:

Bank Statements

Any document from your bank detailing transactions should be shredded to protect your financial history. This includes credit card statements, mortgage statements, and investment account statements.

Tax Returns

Tax returns contain sensitive information such as your Social Security number, income details, and personal expenses. These should be shredded after a certain period to prevent identity theft.

Old Bills

Utility bills, credit card bills, and medical bills contain personal details that, if accessed, could lead to identity theft.

Expired Credit and Debit Cards

Shredding is required, rather than simply cutting them up. This ensures that the bits of information embedded in the card are destroyed.

Pay Stubs

Your pay stubs contain valuable information, such as your earnings, tax deductions, and employer details. Shred them to avoid leaking personal and financial data.

Old ID Cards

Shred them to prevent misuse, whether they’re expired driver’s licenses or old work IDs.

Unused Checks

If you close a bank account, shred any checks connected to that account to avoid fraudulent activities.

Prescription Labels

These often have your name, address, and information about the medication you’re taking. Shred them to keep your medical history private.

Travel Itineraries

Boarding passes and travel itineraries contain personal details that fraudsters can use. Shred them after your trip is over.

Junk Mail

Pre-approved credit card offers and insurance solicitations are annoying, but they’re also ripe for identity theft if they fall into the wrong hands.


Shred any receipts containing account numbers or credit card information to safeguard your financial data.

Expired Passports

Old passports may contain sensitive personal details, so it’s best to shred them instead of throwing them away.

Investment Statements

Brokerage statements and investment records should be shredded to protect your assets and prevent fraud.

Remember, when shredding these items, it’s essential to use a cross-cut shredder, which cuts paper into small pieces rather than strips. This ensures that the information is less likely to be reconstructed. Using a professional shredding service can also provide peace of mind. It may seem like a hassle, but taking the necessary precautions to protect your personal information is worth it in the long run.

Never Shred The Following Items

Any permanent records must be securely stored and protected. Consider utilizing locked file rooms, secure file cabinets, or safe deposit boxes to safeguard sensitive information. These measures help ensure confidentiality and prevent unauthorized access to important documents. Here are a few examples of secure storage options:

Birth Certificates

These are needed for legal purposes and should be kept in a safe place.

Marriage Certificates

Similar to birth certificates, marriage certificates are essential documents that should not be shredded.

Social Security Cards

These cards contain your important personal information, including your Social Security number. It’s important to keep these in a secure location.


Wills should be kept safe to ensure your final wishes are followed.

Property Deeds

These documents prove property ownership and should be kept secure.

Vehicle Titles

Similar to property deeds, vehicle titles should also be stored in a secure place.

Life Insurance Policies

Life insurance policies are essential documents that provide financial security to your loved ones. Keep them safe in a secure location.


While expired passports can be shredded, current passports should be stored securely for future use.

The Role Of Shredding In Protecting Personal And Sensitive Information

Although the comprehensive nature of this list may seem daunting, it is necessary for safeguarding personal and professional data. By taking proactive steps to shred and destroy sensitive materials, you protect yourself and your organization from legal and financial repercussions and contribute to building a culture of data security and respect for privacy.

Engaging in secure disposal practices is an ongoing responsibility that reflects the seriousness with which we regard the trust placed in us by individuals who share their information. Shredding, whether done on a large or small scale, is an investment in maintaining that trust and upholding ethical business practices.


In conclusion, shredding documents and properly disposing of sensitive materials is not just a recommendation but a necessity in a world where data privacy and security are constantly under threat.

Fraudsters and identity thieves are becoming increasingly sophisticated, making it imperative for individuals and businesses to adopt rigorous security measures. By carefully managing the disposal of personal and professional documents, we create a barrier against potential privacy and security breaches.

Document Destruction of Virginia can help protect you by providing secure shredding services for sensitive documents. Contact us today to learn more about our services and how we can help you keep your information safe and secure.

Let us tailor a program that will accommodate your shredding needs.