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Identity Theft Prevention

The Better Business Bureau (BBB) is urging people to participate in its Secure Your ID Event in Omaha on Saturday, April 21st from 8:00 am – 12:00 pm.

Up to three boxes or bags of sensitive documents can be dropped off at Methodist Health System’s parking lot at 85th and Dodge.

Reduce identity theft by shredding outdated or unnecessary personal and financial documents. According to the ID Theft Data Clearinghouse, the most common types of identity theft are:
* Using or opening a credit card account fraudulently
* Opening telecommunications or utility accounts fraudulently
* Passing bad checks or opening a new bank account
* Working in another person’s name
* Getting loans in another person’s name

The BBB recommends the shredding of all sensitive documents and using this document retention schedule:

* Insurance documentation: Keep as long as you have the policy and save any paperwork regarding unresolved claims/coverage
* Utility, cell phone and similar bills: Keep until you receive confirmation that your payment has been processed - the only exception to this is if you are self-employed. Self-employed people should keep these records longer so they can prove any deductions on their tax forms
* Loan documentation: Keep all paperwork until you pay off the loan - then, you can shred everything except the document that proves you paid in full
* Monthly bank statements: Find out how much time your bank and/or credit cards give you to challenge incorrect statements and keep them until you are no longer able to challenge them- this is typically between 60 days to one year after the mistake is made

One Year
* Paycheck stubs: Don't throw away your paycheck stubs until you receive your annual W-2 form from your employer and if everything matches, feel free to shred your pay stubs - if there are any discrepancies, request a W-2c (a corrected form)

Four Years
* Bills of lading: Keep all documents between the shipper and the carrier of a particular item that details the type, quantity and destination of the item - this document governs all legal aspects of the transfer

Seven Years
* Tax returns, canceled checks/receipts, records for tax deductions taken: The IRS has six years to challenge your return if it thinks that you underreported your gross income by 25 percent or more

Forever
* All paperwork related to bankruptcy, inheritance and wills
* Auditor's reports
* House/Condominium records: It is a good idea to keep documents of expenditures related to house/condominium improvements - capital purchases that improve or enhance the value of your home when you sell your property may lower your capital gain’s tax
* IRA contribution records: If you made a nondeductible contribution to an IRA plan, such as a Roth IRA - keep your records to show that you were already taxed for this money


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