Knowing all the right tips to foil identity thieves online and in public places (such as ATMS) can go a long way in safeguarding confidential information. However, the documents and records that linger in homes and get casually tossed into garbage cans and recycling bins are turning many unsuspecting people into victims of identity theft.

Thieves are no dummie-they know where to look for the information needed to steal an identity. Unfortunately, honest people don’t know the tricks of the thieving trade and often leave themselves vulnerable. According to the Better Business Bureau, 56 percent of identity theft victims could trace the theft back to something that was taken from their possession. With statistics like that, it’s clear that taking steps to secure your identity isn’t just a good idea-it’s essential. One of the best places to start is by shredding documents printed with sensitive information.

On April 20, the BBB is holding “Secure Your ID Day” events across the country, offering free secure shredding services and advice on everyday actions to protect your identity. It’s a perfect opportunity to get rid of documents that have personal information on them. Unsure of what to shred? Here are some items that should be on the list:

* Credit card offers and applications

* Insurance, bank and billing statements older than two years

* Duplicate deposit slips older than two years

* Tax returns older than 5 years

* Old pay stubs

* Cancelled checks (but not checks used for taxes, property purchases, etc.)

This free shredding event can be the kickoff to better identity protection. It’s also a good idea to purchase a home shredder-having one on hand makes it easy to shred whenever it’s necessary.

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