Don’t be a hoarder, Shred It!; Event scheduled for Saturday

records retention
 
 
By Robb Hicken/BBB’s chief storyteller

Each April, Better Business Bureau works with a variety of community-minded businesses Cintas and Western Records Destruction to offer free shredding to anyone looking to safely and securely dispose of paper. It’s an ‘on-the-house’ incentive to spring clean the filing cabinets, drawers and closets of papers containing information for your eyes only.

Here’s a checklist to help you get ready for Saturday’s Secure Your ID event, from 10 a.m. to noon, at the Idaho Transportation Department, 3311 W. State St., Boise.

1) Decide what to keep and what not to keep. Based on guidance from the Internal Revenue Service – here are four groups of documents:

  • Old stuff to keep forever. The bottom line is that some items simply need to be held on to indefinitely—like previous tax returns, retirement account contributions, deeds and mortgage paperwork.
  • Old stuff to keep for seven years. The IRS recommends keeping documents anywhere from one to seven years, but to simplify the process I just decided to make it easy: If something is on the retention schedule at all and less than seven years old, it will go in the “keep” pile.
  • Current stuff to keep. For the current year’s taxes, I need to hold on to everything from the most recent calendar year. However, it won’t do me any good to mix it all in with the seven-year pile so it gets its own group.
  • Stuff to destroy. Everything else. That happy hour receipt is a great reminder of an afternoon well spent, but poses no real reason to be saved.

2) Sort everything. Gather all the papers, make a big pile and after the four categories, it’s easy to stick to what’s important.

3) Organize the documents that need to be kept. This is by far the most complicated part of the process. Start a filing system. Organizing documents by type is a great way to maximize efficiency – let’s say an insurance document – not sure which year it was filed, so create an insurance folder and it’s there, somewhere. Each folder is organized chronologically, with the most recent documents in front and the seven-year-old documents in the back. Create six different folders:

  • Credit Card/Purchasing Documents
  • Bank Documents
  • Investment Documents
  • Insurance Documents
  • Tax Documents
  • Home/Residence & Personal Documents

4) Shred. BBB free document shredding events will have Cintas and Western Records Managment – one right after taxes are due in April and the other during National Cyber Security Awareness Month in October.

5) Be proactive in protecting identities. You’re responsible for keeping your identity secure. This simple guideline for securing your identity is just the start.

A personal shredder can keep up with secure document destruction all year-long. You can also find more information on how to protect yourself at BBB.org or BBBhelp.com. BBB periodically sends out an email alerts to members with scams that are targeting the area with phishing scams.

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1 Comment

Filed under Outreach

One response to “Don’t be a hoarder, Shred It!; Event scheduled for Saturday

  1. Mark Burrows

    Myself, I got rid of my shredder. For some crazy reason, the recycle pick up people do not wish for me to put shredded material into their bins. I already pay municipal taxes for these bins and the pick up. So, they ordered me to take shredded material to a specific disposal site, which is not close by, therefore the cost of means of transportation, fuel, etc. is beyond what I pay for, then when I get there with the shredded material, they slap me with an environment fee.
    So, I take a pair of scissors, cut away any small bits of data that are identification pertinent, and I have no problem putting flat paper in the recycle bin. With the bits and pieces, I have been doing small paper mache sculptures as a release mechanism from all of the other work I involve myself with.
    Any who follow me here, should know that as much as I am out to fight for the consumer against abuse from the criminal element, I also do not care to be bullied about by the institutes of governing bodies who take issues to the extreme and create a little cream at the top for themselves. Thus my strong dislike for the word fee. There does not seem to be any law or regulation or control system in place to keep these fees in fair perspective. The banking system is of course the worst culprit as they tell you one thing that makes you believe you might escape the fees that one rampant in other banks but it is not so. They cleverly just sign you up with no fees, those annoying fees come later as they introduce other no cost services, but these no cost to sign up come with hidden fees.
    So, I do not reside in Idaho nor the Snake River district, if you do not have the same situation as I do, then you need not worry at the moment, but I assure you, it will come. Where I live, we no longer are capable of going to a public dumping ground. If you don’t have pickup service, you have to take your garbage to a site, that sort of looks like a dump site, but they claim they sort through everything and put what can be salvaged for recycle aside and even some waste is analyzed and broken down to compost. So, landfill is so much less and much more compact. So, there is a big fat fee for that. The thing is, I don’t buy it. If it were true I should have seen people about in something close to hazmat suits poking about selecting bags. There was no building on the site other than the small one at the gate for sorting purposes, and there were no trucks being loaded to take away the trash to be either sorted or relocated. Such a suggested operation certainly would also have an impact on people that have been regulated to the streets with no income. They are dumpster divers anyway, it would not be much of a stretch to employ them in that manner. For that, I would rather see a slight raise in my taxes, and not a surprise fee.
    Who benefits from all of these fees? I’ll tell you, not the bank employees, not store employees, and basically not anyone in the working class. They are not taxes, they claim that they offset the costs of doing business, but cost of doing business is and should be tax deductible. So, when banks alone are making collectively in the billions in fees alone, that is completely far from offsetting costs, that is blatant profiteering. Yet, no one seems to do anything about it, the governments ignore the fee activity completely. A few have come forward to state they promise to look into it, but both you and I know that a promise from a politician is soon brushed aside.
    So no, I do not shred, and I do not go to shredding events not that they may truly be free, but simply there is always another agenda. Most agendas end up being some kind of appeal for funds. I am having enough trouble keeping funds in my own pockets these days.
    It’s not that I am hurting, but for what I get, the cost of living rules supreme and saving is next to impossible. I try, but I get hit with fees and have to draw out my savings, and then the tax folk come about and tell me that taking money out if my savings is now income and I they tax me on it. I say, wait, you are only suppose to tax my on the interest, not the principle. They tell me, the principle now stays in the bank and what I have taken out is the interest, even if it is more that the interest, I have only left a diminished principle in the bank. They take it, but then I can claim it back. Yes, it does sound crazy, but they do it because grabbing my money and everyone else’s money they are investing it and making money and we have to diddle about filling out claim forms to recover back the the portion of tax of the amount of the principle they should not have considered income, so that they only get the little bit of the tax off the interest drawn. Then governments start wondering why people start banking off shore. The answer, the erosion of the economy. The people no longer trust or have faith in the North American way of doing business. I can go to Japan, shop, come home, go through customs pay my duty with less hassle than going to the corner store and worrying about what fee they will charge me today to use my debit card. Okay, yes that is a stretch, but the trip to Japan or any other foreign country is straight forward in coming back into the country. You know what you can bring and what you can’t. You know how much is deductible and how much you pay duty on. They are no hidden fees or surprises, well for some who really do not clue into the rules about bringing in certain things into the country that they are not allowed to. Yet that is only ignorance, the objects are merely confiscated, and they are given a lecture. They loose the cost of purchase and a bit of their dignity. Mind you, taking the airline is another source of being nailed to the wall with inventive fees. No, it does not go into the flight staff’s pocket, it does not go into the pilot’s pocket, and it does not offset the rising cost of fuel. These fees go into the pockets of the CEOs, Board of Directors, and even sometimes the shareholders. As the saying goes, the rich get richer and the poor get poorer.
    The moral of my ramblings, is ironic humor. Have we not being trying to teach you not to trust the word free? So when I saw an offer of free shredding, I couldn’t resist creating this satire. Remember, satire is the truth, but taken with a touch of tongue in cheek.
    Mark Burrows

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