We’ve all heard about the risks associated with discarding old bank statements. Nobody wants to expose themselves to the possibility of falling for a scam because they are covered with private information.
Unfortunately, this frequently results in an additional issue: mountains of old bank statements. While it is worthwhile to hold onto old bank statements for a while, eventually they become nothing more than a hassle. So, is there a secure way to get rid of them?
How Can I Safely Dispose of My Old Bank Statements?
Old bank statements can be disposed of safely, but you must make sure you follow all applicable regulations. That implies that the bank statements cannot simply be torn in half and thrown out. They must be rendered totally illegible.
There are a few methods you can try. Some of them are:
1. Using a Shredder
This is the most common and accepted method of erasing old bank statements. You can safely dispose of the documents in a garbage bin because a decent shredder can fully destroy any information.
After shredding everything, you should get rid of it in multiple batches. Simply put, this reduces the likelihood that someone will attempt to put it back together. To obtain one for yourself, simply go to Amazon and search for a paper shredder. Always try to read other people’s reviews to avoid purchasing a bad product.
You might also be able to rent or utilize the shredders that are frequently available in some stores for free. A recycling center is an additional location to consider. or check with the bank in your area. They can be surprisingly accommodating and probably have the capacity to shred.
Contact your local library as well; they might also have a shredder available for public use.
2. Participating in a Community Shredding Event
Many local businesses, including banks, credit unions, and recycling firms, provide free paper shredding events for their clients. The fact that papers are destroyed using crosscut paper shredders and combined with other shredded materials makes this technique of destruction generally a good option.
The drawback is that you might need to store private information or keep it on hand for a long time while you wait for a paper shredding event. This might increase the danger of a security breach or identity theft.
3. Cutting Up the Documents
In other circumstances, you may not have a large number of critical papers to destroy. As a result, you might not require a paper shredder to do this basic activity. Instead, you may rip up the documents and store them somewhere secure.
If you decide to cut the document, you must take great care to ensure that nothing can be read. To make it difficult for anyone to reassemble the papers and read them, cut them into tiny pieces and be sure to jumble them up. For example, you could wish to remove important portions of the document, such as bank details and SSNs.
4. Burning the Papers
Be sure to check if the laws in your state allow for fires. However, burning is the most thorough way to get rid of any old bank statements. Set a bonfire in a metal trash can using the statements, feed any remaining pieces in, and after that, rinse the can with water.
Be sure to tear everything up before burning, or larger pieces can get caught in the breeze and fly away. This might be time-consuming, but it will completely destroy the documents. Once you’ve finished burning, rake through the ashes just to make sure there’s nothing hanging around.
Burning is definitely an effective way of disposing of any bank statements, but it isn’t very good for the environment. It can pollute the air, so you should be careful while lighting the fire. Only use this if you really can’t think of a better option.
5. Soaking Them in Water And Bleach
If you don’t fancy the two options above, then you should use this one. Get a big bucket that will contain up to 20 liters of water. But this depends on the number of old bank account statements that you want to dispose of.
Pour water into the bucket along with bleach, and soak the old bank account statements in it.
Once the water has done its job, carefully drain it away outside. You don’t want to flush it down the toilet, because that might end up clogging your pipes. You should now be left with paper pulp, which can be tossed into the trash.
6. Composting Sensitive Documents
Unwanted paper, like food scraps, coffee filters, and other organic waste, can be placed in a compost pile and slowly decomposed over time. Documents should be shredded before composting, and the waste should be well mixed into the pile to avoid upsetting the nitrogen and carbon balance.
While composting may appear to be an environmentally friendly alternative, it is not a secure method of document disposal and is time-consuming. Certain types of paper, such as those with hazardous glossy coatings, are also unsuitable for composting.
7. Hiring a Company
Finally, you may hire a business to assist you in getting rid of your bank statements. We understand that this may be unsettling, but these firms are experts at managing your papers with care. However, if you believe your information is vulnerable, avoid using this approach.
Reputable firms established to handle this type of service will destroy your critical papers without releasing any information. Therefore, you must put your faith in them. If you are still uneasy, make sure to inquire about the company’s privacy practices so that you may sue them if anything goes wrong.
- In these technological times where everything is easy and accessible, the safest way to get rid of bank statements is to ensure you never receive them in the first place. A lot of banks will now allow you to go completely paperless. All statements will be sent either via email or accessed through their website or an app. This is better for the environment as it reduces paper waste, and it makes it easier for you as you don’t have to worry about how to get rid of your bank statements or identity theft. Talk to your bank, and see if they have the option of going paperless.
- Also, ensure that you don’t allow a third party to dispose of your bank statements for you. This is especially true in the case of going to stores to shred your paper. Be very careful because you cannot trust shredding companies not to steal your confidential information like bank details and credit card information. This is why you should do it yourself at all times.
- Before disposing of your old bank statements, ensure there won’t be a need for them in the future. Sometimes income tax problems might arise, and it’ll be hard for you to defend yourself. This is why digitalization is very important. Always keep a scanned copy of important bank statements.
How Long Should You Keep Your Bank Statements?
Keep the paper bank statements you receive in the mail for a full year if you don’t have an online bank account.
If you’re good with numbers, you can track your income and spending in an accounting application or a spreadsheet.
Except for one very important document, it is okay to shred and dispose of the paper after one year. Anything that proves a tax deduction should be retained for a minimum of three years. In audits, the IRS says it seldom looks back further than that, but it reserves the right to do so.
What Do I Black Out on a Bank Statement Before Disposal?
You should be able to filter out any relevant information directly related to the account. Presumably, your name, phone number, address, and other identifying information will be included on the statement to prove that the account is indeed yours. You do not need to jeopardize your privacy and security.
It may be difficult to get rid of old bank statements, but it is vital. Either buy a shredder or soak the paper in water; whichever method works for you. Although it is not enjoyable, it is preferable to identity theft.