Bud Brown has four big boxes of financial paperwork that he knows could cause trouble in the wrong hands.
"Basically there's tax returns for about 30 years," said Brown of the boxes recently cleaned out of his father-in-law's home.
"He kept all of his financial records since about 1960."
Brown recently brought the boxes to a free community shredding event in Brooklyn Park to make sure all of his father-in-law's documents were disposed of properly, leaving no chance that the personal paperwork could end up being used by someone else.
"It's very critical, it's got his social security numbers, his bank account numbers all that stuff," said Brown.
With tax season now in the rearview mirror, authorities say it's a good time to go through old paperwork and decide what needs to be discarded.
According to the Internal Revenue Service, tax records should be kept for at least three years. Documents relating to a home purchase or sale, stock transactions or records and receipts that support deductions should be kept longer. Keep in mind the IRS can audit up to six years back if you've underreported, and indefinitely if it's a fraudulent return.
When disposing of personal financial documents, Brooklyn Park Crime Prevention Coordinator Gerry Gibbs says to minimize the chances of identity theft all documents should be destroyed by whatever means possible.
"If you don't have the availability of a shredder or scissors or anything like that, when you shred or at least rip up the information, put half of it in your garbage container, and half of it in your recycling, so at least at that point you're separating some of that information. you've got to think like the bad guy," said Gibbs.
For a listing of free community shredding events in May and June, click here.
Alexandra Renslo reporting
Monday, May 07, 2012