One of the fastest growing crimes today is identity theft. With so much of our personal information saved across the internet, it takes very little time and effort for cyber thieves to access and exploit your identity. In mere minutes, a cyber thief can gain access to your personal information and open credit cards and other accounts in your name, taking advantage of your finances, ruining your credit, or worse.
Acting proactively is the best way to protect you and your family from the hazards of identity theft and springtime is the perfect time to get started. Now that tax season is over, consider doing some spring cleaning of all your sensitive documents both physical and digital to better protect yourself.
Here at Focus Financial, a common security question our financial planning advisors receive after tax season is: “How long should I keep tax documents?” For the most accurate answer to this question, be sure to find an investment advisor and schedule an appointment to go through your specific needs and documents. Below is a quick guide to help give you an idea of what to keep and what to get rid of while doing your post-tax season spring cleaning:
Keep for Less Than a Year:
- ATM Receipts
- Bank-Deposit Receipts
- Credit Card Receipts
- Insurance Policies
Once these items are reconciled with monthly statements or become outdated and are no longer need for tax purposes, securely shred them.
Keep for a Year or More:
- Loan Documents until paid off
- Vehicle Titles until car is sold
- Investment Purchase Confirmations until investment is sold
Keep for Seven Years:
- Tax Records
The government has six years to collect taxes or start legal proceedings if you fail to report more than 25% of your gross income.
The Focus Financial Annual Shredding Event
Each year, our independent financial advisors and their clients come together for a night of shredding. The purpose of this event is to draw awareness to the importance of acting proactively to guard against identity theft. On May 2nd, dozens of individuals from across our investment management company brought countless documents to be shredded together. It was a fun evening enjoying the company of fellow financial advisors and clients but also a great reminder of the importance of acting proactively to protect against identity theft.