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Consumer Alert: What to shred, what to save

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STERLING, Va. (WJLA) - There are three categories out there: the trashers, the savers, and the shredders.

These days, many personal documents can be scanned and saved, and almost all banks and credit card companies offer online statements for a year or more.

But how long should you really be keeping personal documents? We visited Proshred in Sterling for the answers.

"It depends on what the document contains," explains owner Steve Theobald.

Here’s what to shred: bank statements after one year, credit card statement, pay stubs after one year after you receive your W-2, old social security statements, resolved insurance claims, and cable, utility, or phone bills.

And here’s what to save: tax returns for up to seven years, year-end loan documents for the entire life of the loan, W-2 forms, current insurance policies, investment statements, and big-item receipts for insurance purposes.

"Also, credit card solicitations that you get in the mail. You definitely don't wanna throw those out because someone can open up an account in your name," says Steve.

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