Should You Shred Address Labels?

Should You Shred Address Labels?

When discussing identity theft today, the focus tends to lean toward cyber threats and online scams. Because of this shift, it’s common to forget the many seemingly innocent documents that can put your identity at risk. Junk mail and address labels fall into this category. 

It is not illegal to go through someone’s trash once it has been placed on the curb. This allows identity thieves to root through unsuspecting people’s trash to look for personal information. Even small amounts of information, like your full name and address, can lead a criminal to unlock more information, steal your identity, and commit fraud.

Why Do Address Labels Pose A Threat?

Shred your junk mail and address labels with Shred Nations

Address labels on mail and packages not only reveal addresses and names, but they can potentially include tracking codes and account numbers. Pre-authorized credit cards and offers including barcodes can contain several pieces of personally identifiable information (PII). 

Shredding junk mail prevents thieves from gaining access to this information or potentially opening credit cards in your name. All documents that come in the mail or anything with an address label should be shredded to minimize your chances of being a victim of theft. 

Are Recycling Address Labels Safe?

Throwing mail into the recycling bin is common practice in homes and businesses. However, just like trash bins, recycling bins are susceptible to dumpster divers looking for personal information. 

Additionally, many address labels are made with “pressure-sensitive adhesives” or PSAs. PSAs activate when pressed to paper or packages and do not need moisture to adhere. Because of this, PSAs do not dissolve in water and can be difficult to screen out in the pulping process of paper recycling.

PSAs can also cause issues in low-powered shredders if the adhesive comes in contact with the blades. Professional shredding services use high-powered, industrial-grade shredders to ensure that your information is properly destroyed without issue. 

Best Practices for Handling Address Labels

  1. When in doubt, shred.

If you are unsure whether a document could put your identity at risk, there is no harm in shredding it. It is always better to unnecessarily shred than put yourself in jeopardy.

  1. Remove shipping labels.

Always remove (and shred) shipping labels from boxes or packages before breaking them down 

  1. Shred all junk mail, envelopes, and labels.

Shred all unwanted mail, return envelopes, and labels that contain names, addresses, or other personal information.

  1. Return other people’s mail.

If you accidentally receive junk mail addressed to someone else, do not throw it away, shred it, or recycle it. Write “return to sender” on the envelope and place it back in your mailbox. This way, you are not responsible for someone else’s information.

Find Shredding Services for All of Your Shredding Needs at Shred Nations

Protecting your identity is easy with Shred Nations. We offer shredding services for homes and businesses to meet a variety of needs. Safely and regularly shred your address labels and junk mail with mobile or offsite shredding services. Give us a call at (800) 747-3365 or fill out the form to get started today.