Identity Theft Protection Tips – Because Knowing is Half the Battle

This post may contain affiliate links. This means, if you make a purchase through one of my links, I may receive a very small commission at no additional cost to you. Thank you!

Disclosure: I received a sample to facilitate this article.  All thoughts and opinions are honest and are my own.

Identity theft protection tips

Identity theft protection is a priority in our family.

Almost two years ago our house was broken into and we were robbed…twice.  I was 12 weeks pregnant driving my two boys from San Antonio to Utah while my husband stayed behind in San Antonio to finish up his residency.  It was a summer I’ll never forget.  I’m blinking back tears just thinking about it.

Aside from the emotional repercussions, which have long since healed, we will continue to face the more temporal and financial repercussions of being robbed for a long time. While we are very grateful the thieves didn’t steal any of our important documents from our filing cabinets, they did find and steal our lock box with all of our vital records: birth certificates, marriage certificate, Social Security cards, etc.  –Facepalm!–

You don’t have to be an expert to know that is the perfect recipe for stolen identity. Since then we have been doubly concerned with identity theft protection.  And we are right to be concerned.  According to the Javelin Strategy & Research 2014 Identity Fraud Report, 13.1 million people were affected by the identity theft in 2013.

Here are some great Identity Theft Protection Tips

  1. File your taxes as soon as possible. The longer you wait, the more time an identity thief has to file a return for you.
  2.  Shred all no-longer-needed tax-related documents that contain sensitive information with a cross-cut shredder. Documents include receipts, W2 forms and tax preparer invoices.
  3.  Protect your computers and mobile devices with firewalls, anti-virus software and complex passwords.
  4. Don’t carry your Social Security card or any other documents with your Social Security number with you.
  5.  Order a copy of your free annual credit report from each of the three credit reporting agencies. Stagger these requests throughout the year.

You should keep your tax return records for three years from the date you filed your original return or two years from the date you paid the tax, whichever is later.  After that time you should shred your returns along with the documents mentioned above using a cross-cut shredder like the Fellowes’ 73Ci.

Fellowes' 73Ci shredder

Fellowes’ 73Ci Shredder

The Fellowes’ 73Ci is ideal for destroying  no-longer-needed tax documents that contain sensitive information because of its

  • Cross-Cut blades that destroy 12 sheets of paper into approximately 397 particles per sheet, making it extremely difficult to reassemble–unless you happen to be a jigsaw puzzle grand master.
  • 100% Jam Proof System that eliminates paper jams and powers through tough jobs.
  • SafeSense® technology which automatically stops shredding when hands touch the paper opening.

This SafeSense® technology is so important to someone like me.  Our home office is completely open to the rest of the house.  Our youngest, Baby Z, is a little tornado and is into everything.  So immediately after I set up the shredder, what does the little tornado do?  Yep, he sticks his fingers in the thing.  And, don’t ya know, that opening is just the perfect size for little toddler fingers.  So, yes, I’m very grateful for the SafeSense technology.  Even so, we keep it unplugged when not in use.

One thing I really appreciate the Fellowes’ people for thinking of is that the Fellowes’ 73Ci Shredder comes with several recyclable liner bags.  It seems like a trivial thing, but with so many things on my plate, I’m all about convenience these days.  I appreciate that I can just pull the bag out and toss it in the car before I head to the recycle drop off.

The Fellowes’ 73Ci shredder is available at office superstores in-store and online, and through online merchants like

Do you have any other best practice advice or identity theft protection tips?


About Amy @ Oh So Savvy Mom

Amy is mom to three, wife to one, and a sister and aunt to many. Her family is a former military family now settled in Lehi, Utah. Oh So Savvy Mom began as a way for Amy to share parenting and product advice with others. Just as she has evolved, Oh So Savvy Mom has evolved into a resource for Healthy Living for Families, Food, Parenting, and Family Travel.


  1. I really need a shredder. We take ours to office max and have them shred it, but it's such a pain to lug it there and it starts to add up!
  2. Thanks for the great tips. I often feel like I need to do more to protect myself online.
  3. We really need to get a shredder. My husband is someone that likes to keep EVERYTHING so I know that we have things that should really be shredded. I am so sorry you guys were robbed TWICE! That is so scary!
  4. Thanks for the tips. I always forget how long to keep my tax returns. The shredder looks amazing, love the SafeSense Technology.
  5. shelly peterson says
    These are great tips! Being broke into is a horrible experience. I have had it happen twice to me myself. I really need too invest in a shredder.
  6. Janet W. says
    Very good tips, thanks for sharing! We always order our free annual credit reports each year, and over the past few years we have found some disputes, so I'm glad we always look each year!
  7. 13.1 million people had their identity stolen last year..... I had no idea that the numbers were that high. It pays to stay vigilant doesn't it?
  8. i need to shred more idtems instead of tosssing them in the trash
  9. We do a yearly credit report, and also shred documents that are no longer needed, and we never carry are social security cards on us. We keep them locked up. And we have Norton 360 on our laptops.
  10. Good post. Like all machines, a paper shredder may often need the correct care and maintenance. Thanks for posting.
  11. Audrey Blakeney says
    Your advice about using a cross-cut shredder is quite valuable when trying to properly shed sensitive documents. Typical shredders have become to easy to reverse and put papers back together, but cutting horizontal as well as vertically makes it practically impossible to recreate documents. Identity theft is a worrisome threat, so thank you for posting such wonderful tips about how to avoid and protect yourself against it.
  12. Amy, when you become the target of an identity theft, how would you take it up to a criminal defense lawyer? Just reading this article has me become more alert that it can happen to my family and I at anytime. It's good thought to receive some tips on how to be protected from the issue.