From Identity Theft scams that prey on older vets to the additional risk faced by anyone using a DD214 for identification, veterans are facing increased attacks on their identities. One of the ways current and former members of the military can fight back is to understand when to keep, carry, and shred veteran documents.
Clear Out Pocketbook or Wallet
Be careful what documents you regularly carry on your person. Your wallet can be stolen, paper can fall out of it, or identity thieves can sneak a peek when you aren’t looking. Avoid carrying your social security card, and only provide that number when necessary. Unless you need your DD214 for a specific purpose, you may want to leave it at home as well.
Veteran Documents for the Locked Cabinet
It’s probably a good idea to keep documents pertaining to your military record and military identification. You’ll also want to keep proof of pension or insurance plans and up to seven years of tax records. While you can scan some of these items into the computer, you’ll definitely want to keep originals for anything that is signed by another person or features a notary or other official seal. A locked filing cabinet or small fire safe protects your documents from easy access by others.
Documents to Shred
Never throw veteran documents that contain personal identification number in the trash. According to a Supreme Court ruling, individuals and businesses don’t have an expectation of privacy when throwing items away in a public area like the street-side garbage can or local dumpster. Instead, use a shredding service to destroy credit card statements, out-of-date VA benefit documents, health information, loan documents, canceled checks and pay stubs, and old insurance documents. If the document has your social security number or other identifying information and you know longer need the paper on hand, then play it safe. Shred it.