The Crime Stoppers of the Sioux Empire will be holding their annual free shredding event at various location in Sioux Falls soon. The event is a fundraiser for Crime Stoppers and an excellent way to have your sensitive documents securely shredded.

This is a great opportunity to get rid of junk mail from credit card companies and other mailings that may have your personal info on it. It's also a perfect spring cleaning activity to make some room in your personal files. Paper with personal info on it is a prime target for identity theft and other scammers. It's best not to just toss it into the trash.

The shredding event will be from 9:00 AM until 1:00 PM on Saturday, April 21. There will three locations for you to bring your box of docs. There is a suggested donation of $5.00 a box.

  • 57th and Louise in the Minnwest Bank parking lot.
  • 6th and Sycamore at Washington High School.
  • 13th and Main downtown in the Pavilion Parking Lot/Ramp

If you're wondering what and when to shred documents, the Federal Trade Commission has a few guidelines.

First there are some things that you need to save forever. Locked in a secure and fireproof safe if possible:

  • Birth certificates or adoption papers
  • Social Security cards
  • Citizenship papers or passports
  • Marriage or divorce decrees
  • Death certificates of family members
  • Auto Titles and
  • Home Deeds

I'd add mortgage and insurance information to that list.

Tax Records:

  • Tax returns – It’s best to keep these forever.
  • Pay stubs – Shred ’em after checking them against your W-2.
  • Home improvement receipts – Keep these receipts until you sell your home, since certain expenses may reduce your capital gains tax.
  • Other tax records – like tax-related receipts and cancelled checks – Save seven years before shredding.
  • If you’re unsure what tax records to keep, consult an accountant or contact IRS Taxpayer Assistance at 800-829-1040.

Most everything else you can probably shred right away. Especially, if you can get a copy of a statement on demand from an online source.

Most experts suggest that you can shred many other documents sooner than seven years. After paying credit card or utility bills, shred them immediately. Also, shred sales receipts, unless related to warranties, taxes, or insurance. After one year, shred bank statements, pay stubs, and medical bills (unless you have an unresolved insurance dispute).

Don't forget about the various plastic cards that a person can accumulate. Those may be easier to cut up as they end their usefulness, but a lot of folks have a few old insurance cards, expired credit cards, or old rewards cards in drawer somewhere. They are still full of personal info, either printed on them or in the magnetic strip on the back. Be sure they get destroyed too.

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