Extra birth announcements


Children are 51 percent more likely to be victims of identity theft than adults. Shred birth announcements you don’t save, which typically have the child’s name, birth date, weight, eye color, and other personal identifiers. If the newborn is yours, don’t accept monetary gifts (like a savings bond) that ask for the child’s social security number—it is often not required to open an account. This woman had her identity stolen—don’t let it happen to your child.

Extra funeral pamphlets


Thefts use the identities of more than 2 million deceased Americans every year to apply for loans, open credit card accounts, or file tax returns, collecting billions of dollars in refunds. Shred extra funeral pamphlets or obituaries you don’t save. If a loved one passes, list age in the obituary but not the birth date or mother’s maiden name—these personal identifiers are handy for ID thieves.

[Sources: Tod Burke, professor of criminal justice at Radford University and former Maryland police officer; Paige Hanson, chief of identity education at LifeLock, an identity theft protection company; krebsonsecurity.com; itproportal.com; rivercitybankonline.com; goaskalice.columbia.edu; pharmlabs.unc.edu; aarp.org; irs.gov]