Before you donate things to a thrift store here’s one tip that you may not think about – get rid of any identifying information on items you donate. If you are donating clothes, purses or items with pockets check the pockets and make sure that there are no receipts with your name on them. I bought a book yesterday from a thrift store – great value 54 cents with tax for The Other Boleyn Girl. If I kept the book for two extra days from the library, I would have to pay 40 cents. Plus, I wouldn’t be confined to the three week borrowing period. Anyway… when I was flipping through the book to check the general condition, I found a receipt with signatures for two people – husband and wife? I am not a thief but if this information fell into the wrong hands criminals might be able to find where these people live and destroy their credit.
I have found receipts in library books, at casually tossed ATM receipts and other vital information at places where anyone could just find then use the information for unsavory purposes. It’s not paranoid to shred your receipts. Credit card numbers are protected and only the last four digits are revealed, but I found a credit card bill (which I shredded) in a desk drawer from a previous occupant. Be careful with bills especially, just throwing them out will not do. Shredding the pages with numbers that relate to your accounts is a good measure. Using a receipt as a book mark is a bad idea, decline a receipt at the gas station or ATM if you are just going to toss it.
Identity theft has been on the rise and in some cases is difficult to prove or takes a while to prove it before a lot of damage has already been done. Be safe.