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Necessary to Shred Checks of Closed Account?

My husband and I owned a small business for 20+ years. It has been closed for over a year and a half, and the checking account for the business has been closed for over a year. I am in the process of discarding very old checks and bank statements. Must these be shredded or may I simply discard these without risk? There are thousands of them.

If you are certain that you don't need any of the old paid checks for tax purposes, you can get rid of them. Destroy the checks rather than simply leaving them at the curb for trash pickup. Even though the business and the account are closed, information on the checks could be used by fraud artists to issue fraudulent checks that could cause you a lot of aggravation, at minimum.

Ask your bank if it uses an outside shredding/pulverizing service for its confidential files and records, or look for one nearby on the internet. Such companies can make short work of thousands of old checks and checkbooks, and their fee will be worth it to ensure none of those old records can be used against you. Ideally, you'll want a company that will allow you to see that the records are, in fact, destroyed.

Don't forget to include any unused checks on the old account, too. They can be just as big a problem as the used ones.

Published on 1/14/09