We don’t tend to think about the things we throw away most of the time, but it is important to realize that your garbage can pose a security risk to you and your family. To protect your family and their privacy, you should get a shredder and make sure never to throw away the following items in the trash can outside.

1. Bills

Your bills have personal information on them, including financial data, your purchase description, and in some cases your social security number.

2. Anything With a Signature

Don’t make it easy for someone to forge your signature. Shred anything you sign that you don’t intend to keep.

3. Old Credit Cards

Credit cards, even if they are outdated, have other very personal information on them like your full name and bank account number. Cut them up into little pieces before tossing them in the trash.

4. Bank Statements

Bank statements have very personal information on them that could lead to identity theft when in the wrong hands.

5. Invitations

Invitations can give burglars or other criminals information as to who your friends are or where you’ll be at a certain time. Stay social, but also safe.

6. Travel Itineraries

Burglars can find these and know the perfect time to break in! Always make sure to shred any evidence of a vacation (“Home Alone”, rings a bell?).

7. Prescription Bottles

Empty prescription bottles have your information on them. Before you throw them out, remove the sticker and shred it if possible or scribble over it with a dark sharpie.

8. School Documents

Anything from your children’s schools should be shredded. You don’t want anyone to have information about where your children go to school and what their schedule is.

Always make sure to think twice before throwing something away in order to make sure that no one can use it against you. While this will help protect you against identity theft and burglars to some extent, it is still very crucial to install a good home security system to ensure your family’s safety.