Do burglars steal and use paperwork?

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gd
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Do burglars steal and use paperwork?

Post by gd » Tue Aug 13, 2019 1:51 pm

Curious about risk from break-ins. I have no obviously fenceable possessions other than a few cheaper cell phones, tablets, shabby desktop PC (no unencrypted financial passwords cached), and car keys for car. No drugs, liquor cabinet, jewelry, home entertainment center, silver, cash, guns. They'll struggle to fill the swag bag. I do have file cabinets & binders with financial statements and lots of cardboard storage boxes with old records. Like most here, the amounts on those records might impress the average burglar if they inspected them. But so what? My question: does anyone have actual knowledge of a routine house burglary taking or searching through such nondescript records to successfully steal financial assets or identity theft?

miamivice
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Re: Do burglars steal and use paperwork?

Post by miamivice » Tue Aug 13, 2019 1:56 pm

gd wrote:
Tue Aug 13, 2019 1:51 pm
Curious about risk from break-ins. I have no obviously fenceable possessions other than a few cheaper cell phones, tablets, shabby desktop PC (no unencrypted financial passwords cached), and car keys for car. No drugs, liquor cabinet, jewelry, home entertainment center, silver, cash, guns. They'll struggle to fill the swag bag. I do have file cabinets & binders with financial statements and lots of cardboard storage boxes with old records. Like most here, the amounts on those records might impress the average burglar if they inspected them. But so what? My question: does anyone have actual knowledge of a routine house burglary taking or searching through such nondescript records to successfully steal financial assets or identity theft?
My house was burgarlized a few years back. This is what he/she stole:

- Bicycle
- Stack of credit/ID/etc cards
- Season pass to amusement park
- Car key (to presumably steal my car). However, this car key wasn't actually for my car so didn't work
- Wife's non-costume jewelry
- Laptop bag (with laptop)

They did not steal:

- Valuable sporting goods equipment in dingy basement
- Desktop computer, monitor, stereo equipment
- Anything else

None of that was a big deal except for the ID cards. They used the credit card to buy good, but that was easy enough to reverse. Then they printed checks with made up routing and checking account numbers from banks that I don't do business with, using my name/address. I got about a dozen returned check notices from various stores, and those were a pain to get cancelled.

Of course, whomever burglarized my house probably won't the same one to rob you, so your robber might choose different things to take.

miamivice
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Re: Do burglars steal and use paperwork?

Post by miamivice » Tue Aug 13, 2019 1:59 pm

Previously, the house I was in was robbed another time. The burglars didn't steal anything because at that time the owners didn't have anything of hockable value, except they did steal the owners car and went on a joyride.

However those burglarers knew that they had time and they thoroughly went through the house to dump out every drawer and made a huge mess.

What is funny though is that they didn't steal the silverware that was actually made from silver. A lot of younger folks (who are most robbers) don't realize that some silverware actually has a lot of melt value...

lawman3966
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Re: Do burglars steal and use paperwork?

Post by lawman3966 » Tue Aug 13, 2019 2:03 pm

I'm pretty sure that they can and do. I don't have a cite for the partucular case I'm thinking of, but I recall a tv news story from years ago in which a dumpster diver accessed a man's credit card statements, hacked his identity, and made his life a living hell for years as he tried to correct the matter.
I've linked to a general article on dumpster diving driven ID theft. It seems to me that the records in your home are similar to the ones that "divers" find in dumpsters.

https://www.nextadvisor.com/what-to-kno ... ity-theft/

yohac
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Re: Do burglars steal and use paperwork?

Post by yohac » Tue Aug 13, 2019 2:09 pm

Have not heard of anyone using something like a Vanguard statement to loot an account. A thief would need more than just a name and account number. But I'd get rid of all that paper anyway.

Afty
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Re: Do burglars steal and use paperwork?

Post by Afty » Tue Aug 13, 2019 2:13 pm

We had a burglary a few months ago. The officer I spoke to told me that more sophisticated thieves will steal documents and commit identity theft. This didn't happen in my case, but it does happen according to the officer.

Burglars want to get in and out as quickly as possible, so they will go to obvious places to steal documents and not spend a lot of time investigating stacks of random papers.

j0nnyg1984
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Re: Do burglars steal and use paperwork?

Post by j0nnyg1984 » Tue Aug 13, 2019 2:18 pm

My brothers house was robbed a month or so ago. They took his watches and her jewelry, plus a box containing passports, SS cards, random financial documents, old CC’s and drivers licenses, checks, etc. They reported everything stolen the next day, and I helped them freeze their credit reports at the top 5 agencies.

So far, so good.

I keep the majority of my documents in my gun safe, but I am slowly working to transition most everything to my safe deposit box at the bank. It’s an arduous process of determining what I need access to frequently enough to risk keeping it at home.

anon_investor
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Re: Do burglars steal and use paperwork?

Post by anon_investor » Tue Aug 13, 2019 2:23 pm

Why do you have so many paper records? Why not digitalize some of them? I use a confetti shredder to destroy those type of paper documents after I have scanned them. You can encrypt the digital file too with a password, etc.

3-20Characters
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Re: Do burglars steal and use paperwork?

Post by 3-20Characters » Tue Aug 13, 2019 2:34 pm

Anything is possible. It’s good to re-examine your procedures as things change. Used to be lots of FUD articles about guarding your paper records, shredding docs, etc. I would still shred docs before disposal but would you, if you were a burglar, try to acquire people’s identity and financial papers one at time by breaking into heir homes, not knowing what (if anything) they have stored, or where it’s stashed? Or would you just buy it on the dark web for pennies?

Now if someone targets your home for valuables, sure, if they come across paper that looks promising, they may use it. But also consider that most break ins are not done by geniuses. Also consider that they have limited time to grab and run. Also consider that they know that you will report it to police and if they’re caught using something they obtained in the break in, it will tie them in to the break in. So my passwords in my drawer, I’d be more concerned about a sketchy visitor or guest to my home. Then again, I use a password manager.

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Misenplace
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Re: Do burglars steal and use paperwork?

Post by Misenplace » Tue Aug 13, 2019 2:37 pm

This topic is now in the Personal Consumer issues forum.

Moderator Misenplace

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galawdawg
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Re: Do burglars steal and use paperwork?

Post by galawdawg » Tue Aug 13, 2019 4:41 pm

I spent most of my career as a felony prosecutor and was a patrol officer and investigator before that. I can not recall a single case in over thirty years where financial records or documents were stolen in a burglary. Burglars would steal checks and checkbooks and credit/debit cards, but even that wasn't nearly as common as other property.

In my experience the most often stolen property (in order) was cash, drugs (prescription and otherwise), jewelry, video games and video game consoles (very popular theft item in my jurisdiction among burglars under twenty-five), firearms, laptops and tablets, smart phones, power tools, checks and checkbooks, credit cards, and car keys (if vehicle is there to be stolen as well).

That's not to say that theft of paperwork during a burglary can't or doesn't happen, but in my experience, it would be very rare and unusual. Even most financial crimes, such as identity fraud, involved family members or others trusted by the victim such as caretakers, those with power of attorney, and such. Crimes resulting from online data breaches usually involve the crooks using existing credit card numbers or opening new credit cards using the victim's identity to make purchases.

Northern Flicker
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Re: Do burglars steal and use paperwork?

Post by Northern Flicker » Tue Aug 13, 2019 5:10 pm

Unfortunately, if the paperwork may have been disturbed, you have to treat it as if the data on the paperwork has been compromised, whether or not the physical papers are actually taken, data transcribed, cell phone pics taken or whatever.

squirm
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Re: Do burglars steal and use paperwork?

Post by squirm » Tue Aug 13, 2019 5:50 pm

Someone broke into my folks home while I was staying there late at night. He entered into the house, I heard him, I grabbed a knife and went after him, he darted out, I ran after him yelling tons of profanity with knife in hand, unfortunately he was faster (I didn't have shoes on).
My parents were grateful I was there that night.

adamthesmythe
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Re: Do burglars steal and use paperwork?

Post by adamthesmythe » Tue Aug 13, 2019 6:03 pm

miamivice wrote:
Tue Aug 13, 2019 1:56 pm
None of that was a big deal except for the ID cards. They used the credit card to buy good, but that was easy enough to reverse. Then they printed checks with made up routing and checking account numbers from banks that I don't do business with, using my name/address. I got about a dozen returned check notices from various stores, and those were a pain to get cancelled.
Interesting that the most troublesome effect could have been achieved without breaking in at all.
galawdawg wrote:
Tue Aug 13, 2019 4:41 pm
In my experience the most often stolen property (in order) was cash, drugs (prescription and otherwise), jewelry, video games and video game consoles (very popular theft item in my jurisdiction among burglars under twenty-five), firearms, laptops and tablets, smart phones, power tools, checks and checkbooks, credit cards, and car keys (if vehicle is there to be stolen as well).
I suppose the message is to keep credit cards and jewelry in the gun safe.

fru-gal
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Re: Do burglars steal and use paperwork?

Post by fru-gal » Tue Aug 13, 2019 6:10 pm

squirm wrote:
Tue Aug 13, 2019 5:50 pm
Someone broke into my folks home while I was staying there late at night. He entered into the house, I heard him, I grabbed a knife and went after him, he darted out, I ran after him yelling tons of profanity with knife in hand, unfortunately he was faster (I didn't have shoes on).
My parents were grateful I was there that night.
That's just plain crazy. You should have called 911.

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galawdawg
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Re: Do burglars steal and use paperwork?

Post by galawdawg » Tue Aug 13, 2019 6:38 pm

adamthesmythe wrote:
Tue Aug 13, 2019 6:03 pm
...I suppose the message is to keep credit cards and jewelry in the gun safe.
It is even better to deter burglars from picking your home as a target in the first place. Folks would be surprised how many people make it very easy for burglars and thieves. Remember...most of them are lazy (that's one reason why they are criminals instead of working at a job for a living) so they will usually pick the low hanging fruit (like stealing from unlocked cars or stealing the unlocked cars themselves if the keys are left in them).

Here are a few tips to deter a residential burglar:
  • Keep your doors and windows locked. Many burglars gain entry through unlocked doors and windows.
  • Have a surveillance camera or camera system. Most burglaries actually occur during the daytime and many burglars will knock on the door or ring the doorbell to see if someone is home before breaking in. Set up the camera(s) to send you an immediate alert by text or email if motion is detected, particularly at points of entry.
  • Have a monitored alarm system and use it. I can count on one hand the number of residential burglaries that occurred despite an alarm system that was properly used. Most residential burglars avoid locations with alarms or will flee if an alarm sounds.
  • If going out of town, set up lights and a radio orTV on a timer or smart home app to match your routine and make it appear as though someone is home. Have your mail and paper held and don't leave a trash can at the street while away. Your local law enforcement agency may be have a program to check your home on a regular basis while you are away.
  • A large barking dog (or a small dog that barks like a large dog :shock: ) also deters most burglars.
  • Be wise about who you invite into your home and with whom you share personal information. Putting your vacation plans on public social media posts alerts friends and burglars alike that your home will be vacant. 8-)

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tooluser
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Re: Do burglars steal and use paperwork?

Post by tooluser » Tue Aug 13, 2019 7:29 pm

My house was burgled several years ago. Including other, non-traceable cash and cash-like items, the burglar(s) stole my passport, original social security card, and original birth certificate. I immediately cancelled the passport, but the other two cannot be cancelled. I was extremely watchful of credit reports and all accounts for about a year, but no identity theft ever happened.

Luckily :confused my personal information has been stolen in many of the online break-ins, so I have free identity theft monitoring from three different companies. Also, credit reports can now be frozen and unfrozen at no charge. So far so good.

identitytheft.gov has an excellent checklist of what to do if you suspect your identity has been or could be stolen.

For the house, a monitored, do-it-yourself alarm system is fairly inexpensive and better than nothing. I suspect the sign alone is 80% of the deterrent. No thing is perfect.

gretah
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Re: Do burglars steal and use paperwork?

Post by gretah » Wed Aug 14, 2019 6:20 pm

I had my social security number stolen and used to create a new identity.

I don't know how s/he got it. Doctor's office files? Who knows.

The person was an illegal immigrant paid under the table at a local mafia-controlled casino. They used the SS# to get health insurance. Damage could have been much worse.

Luckily I had been planning to move to a new state so I filed the police report just before I left.

Froze credit reports, etc. No problem since then, knock on wood.

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JoMoney
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Re: Do burglars steal and use paperwork?

Post by JoMoney » Wed Aug 14, 2019 7:13 pm

People might be surprised how little "paperwork" or information is necessary to steal someones identity, open credit accounts, and make an identity mess that needs to be cleaned up. I don't think stealing the paperwork is as big a factor as the potential thief seeing that you have good credit, a large credit limit, large financial account, etc... Knowing you have an identity that might be worth stealing can make you a target, and once you're a target looking up your personal information is surprisingly (and unfortunately) quite easy. Some retailers have almost no identity verification to opening credit accounts, and/or representatives that are eager (maybe given incentives) to put up very little friction in opening accounts. It makes me angry thinking about how much effort it takes to dispute and clean up these illegitimate accounts relative to how easy it is to open them.
"To achieve satisfactory investment results is easier than most people realize; to achieve superior results is harder than it looks." - Benjamin Graham

megabad
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Re: Do burglars steal and use paperwork?

Post by megabad » Wed Aug 14, 2019 7:42 pm

The trick is to have so much paperwork in a huge disorderly heap that they could never go through it all anyway. This has been my strategy for years. That 1975 electric bill is gonna come in useful some day I know it.

stan1
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Re: Do burglars steal and use paperwork?

Post by stan1 » Wed Aug 14, 2019 9:00 pm

A friend had his house burglarized a few years ago. Stacks of tax returns and statements were taken and found a few days later in a dumpster by a good samaritan who reported it to police. Police told him burglars are looking easy pickings mixed in with the papers namely credit cards and cash. They don't have time to sort during the grab and want to get rid of the papers after doing a quick sort.

tibbitts
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Re: Do burglars steal and use paperwork?

Post by tibbitts » Wed Aug 14, 2019 9:02 pm

miamivice wrote:
Tue Aug 13, 2019 1:59 pm
Previously, the house I was in was robbed another time. The burglars didn't steal anything because at that time the owners didn't have anything of hockable value, except they did steal the owners car and went on a joyride.

However those burglarers knew that they had time and they thoroughly went through the house to dump out every drawer and made a huge mess.

What is funny though is that they didn't steal the silverware that was actually made from silver. A lot of younger folks (who are most robbers) don't realize that some silverware actually has a lot of melt value...
Relatively few people of any age can distinguish silver from silver plate.

tibbitts
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Re: Do burglars steal and use paperwork?

Post by tibbitts » Wed Aug 14, 2019 9:07 pm

squirm wrote:
Tue Aug 13, 2019 5:50 pm
Someone broke into my folks home while I was staying there late at night. He entered into the house, I heard him, I grabbed a knife and went after him, he darted out, I ran after him yelling tons of profanity with knife in hand, unfortunately he was faster (I didn't have shoes on).
My parents were grateful I was there that night.
That was a very poor decision.

squirm
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Re: Do burglars steal and use paperwork?

Post by squirm » Wed Aug 14, 2019 9:42 pm

tibbitts wrote:
Wed Aug 14, 2019 9:07 pm
squirm wrote:
Tue Aug 13, 2019 5:50 pm
Someone broke into my folks home while I was staying there late at night. He entered into the house, I heard him, I grabbed a knife and went after him, he darted out, I ran after him yelling tons of profanity with knife in hand, unfortunately he was faster (I didn't have shoes on).
My parents were grateful I was there that night.
That was a very poor decision.
I'd place myself between a threat and my folks in a heartbeat as the bad guy is heading towards their bedroom. Obviously you wouldn't. Good luck when some bad dude breaks into your joint.

tibbitts
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Re: Do burglars steal and use paperwork?

Post by tibbitts » Wed Aug 14, 2019 10:12 pm

squirm wrote:
Wed Aug 14, 2019 9:42 pm
tibbitts wrote:
Wed Aug 14, 2019 9:07 pm
squirm wrote:
Tue Aug 13, 2019 5:50 pm
Someone broke into my folks home while I was staying there late at night. He entered into the house, I heard him, I grabbed a knife and went after him, he darted out, I ran after him yelling tons of profanity with knife in hand, unfortunately he was faster (I didn't have shoes on).
My parents were grateful I was there that night.
That was a very poor decision.
I'd place myself between a threat and my folks in a heartbeat as the bad guy is heading towards their bedroom. Obviously you wouldn't. Good luck when some bad dude breaks into your joint.
Actually the way I read the post was that you were staying by yourself at your parent's home - perhaps house-sitting. You didn't say anything about "heading towards an (occupied) bedroom", so yes, you would have to evaluate the relative threat. But confronting someone, especially with only a knife when you have no idea whether the intruder is armed, would be a last resort for me. If the intruder were actually a "bad dude" the situation would not likely have ended well for you.

squirm
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Re: Do burglars steal and use paperwork?

Post by squirm » Wed Aug 14, 2019 11:04 pm

tibbitts wrote:
Wed Aug 14, 2019 10:12 pm
squirm wrote:
Wed Aug 14, 2019 9:42 pm
tibbitts wrote:
Wed Aug 14, 2019 9:07 pm
squirm wrote:
Tue Aug 13, 2019 5:50 pm
Someone broke into my folks home while I was staying there late at night. He entered into the house, I heard him, I grabbed a knife and went after him, he darted out, I ran after him yelling tons of profanity with knife in hand, unfortunately he was faster (I didn't have shoes on).
My parents were grateful I was there that night.
That was a very poor decision.
I'd place myself between a threat and my folks in a heartbeat as the bad guy is heading towards their bedroom. Obviously you wouldn't. Good luck when some bad dude breaks into your joint.
Actually the way I read the post was that you were staying by yourself at your parent's home - perhaps house-sitting. You didn't say anything about "heading towards an (occupied) bedroom", so yes, you would have to evaluate the relative threat. But confronting someone, especially with only a knife when you have no idea whether the intruder is armed, would be a last resort for me. If the intruder were actually a "bad dude" the situation would not likely have ended well for you.
Again I'd risk my life for my folks. It was 1am, My folks were sleeping in their bedroom. The guns were locked up. I had seconds, a knife was there, I grabbed it.

SoAnyway
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Re: Do burglars steal and use paperwork?

Post by SoAnyway » Thu Aug 15, 2019 2:20 am

OP, you've gotten great advice in this thread.

I agree with others that *most* burglars in this day and age of surveillance everywhere aren't the "sharpest tools in the shed". Nor are they sophisticated appraisers of their target's possessions. Nor are they "'long-term' thinkers" by any stretch, of what they might be able to do with all those paper records you're harboring. Rather, in my experience most are simply lookin' for the quick "fence-able" grab to get their next fix.

That was certainly the case even decades ago when my grad student place was broken into multiple times while I was out of my apartment and studying/attending class on-campus. (Like many prestigious universities, the university I attended was an oasis amid a hideously crime-ridden part of a major city, but I digress....) I was a broke student-loan-ridden grad student at the time so I didn't have much, but the burglars made off with my checkbook and stupid things like a calculator, a boom box, a couple airline shot bottles of liquor, and a package of Chips Ahoy cookies. :confused They even left behind my desktop computer - too heavy/visible, I guess... Meanwhile, they left my little file crate (including tax, credit card and financial records with SSN clearly on display) undisturbed, and completely whiffed on the one very valuable piece of art on the wall and several very valuable first edition rare books I'd inherited, not to mention my "cash stash" underneath the plastic bag that lined my trashcan. ;)

All that said, there are definitely more sophisticated rings out there these days, so if your particular entrant is part of such a ring who's been "properly" trained by his/her "higher ups", all bets are off. Those folks tend to focus more on affluent neighborhoods. They "case the joint" well ahead of time to understand the occupant's come-and-go habits/determine the presence of alarm systems/pets/firearms/proximity to neighbors and first responders/etc. and then send in the bozos to execute on their plan. In short, they're running a business (albeit illegal), and it might be tough for them to find good help lol. SoAnyway....

If you're really worried, ask yourself why you're keeping all those paper records around. Ditch any not needed, and focus more on IT-based security measures for those you choose to store electronically.

Quick shout-out to galawdawg: Your experience is valued here, and your advice is spot on and very consistent with my past (far more limited) experience as a crime victim vs. prosecutor. Thanks much for your past service, and your earlier post on steps we can all take!
galawdawg wrote:
Tue Aug 13, 2019 4:41 pm
I spent most of my career as a felony prosecutor and was a patrol officer and investigator before that. I can not recall a single case in over thirty years where financial records or documents were stolen in a burglary. Burglars would steal checks and checkbooks and credit/debit cards, but even that wasn't nearly as common as other property.

In my experience the most often stolen property (in order) was cash, drugs (prescription and otherwise), jewelry, video games and video game consoles (very popular theft item in my jurisdiction among burglars under twenty-five), firearms, laptops and tablets, smart phones, power tools, checks and checkbooks, credit cards, and car keys (if vehicle is there to be stolen as well).

That's not to say that theft of paperwork during a burglary can't or doesn't happen, but in my experience, it would be very rare and unusual. Even most financial crimes, such as identity fraud, involved family members or others trusted by the victim such as caretakers, those with power of attorney, and such. Crimes resulting from online data breaches usually involve the crooks using existing credit card numbers or opening new credit cards using the victim's identity to make purchases.
Nothing in this post constitutes legal or medical advice. | Consult your attorney or physician to verify if/how anything stated might or might not be applicable to your specific situation.

FRANK2009
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Re: Do burglars steal and use paperwork?

Post by FRANK2009 » Thu Aug 15, 2019 2:44 pm

In the increasingly distant past, I was a police officer. Have seen the aftermath of many burglaries. Peoples homes and apartments were left a mess as thieves love to dump the contents of drawers onto the floor. To answer your question though, no one ever said their financial documents were taken.

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snackdog
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Re: Do burglars steal and use paperwork?

Post by snackdog » Thu Aug 15, 2019 4:23 pm

No issue with burglars. You should generally have your credit locked anyhow. Bigger issue is keeping lots of paper records. Better to scan those and go paperless.

Topic Author
gd
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Re: Do burglars steal and use paperwork?

Post by gd » Fri Aug 16, 2019 8:02 am

OP here, thanks all, that was useful.

Agree digital storage is desirable, I do it for new stuff and have been doing it as a clutter-reduction strategy. But I have a lot of stuff, not all just mine or affecting just me. There's a tradeoff between time spent scanning marginal material, clutter, security, risk of lost information, peace of mind, and compulsive neurotic behavior.

NotWhoYouThink
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Re: Do burglars steal and use paperwork?

Post by NotWhoYouThink » Fri Aug 16, 2019 8:30 am

Much more likely to have your financial information stolen by house sitters, care givers, or family members. Someone you know and trust.

Caduceus
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Re: Do burglars steal and use paperwork?

Post by Caduceus » Fri Aug 16, 2019 3:21 pm

gd wrote:
Fri Aug 16, 2019 8:02 am
OP here, thanks all, that was useful.

Agree digital storage is desirable, I do it for new stuff and have been doing it as a clutter-reduction strategy. But I have a lot of stuff, not all just mine or affecting just me. There's a tradeoff between time spent scanning marginal material, clutter, security, risk of lost information, peace of mind, and compulsive neurotic behavior.
You'd be surprised at how much utility you get from the first few days of scanning/digitizing stuff. You don't have to set a goal of digitizing everything. But think about what you care about the most in terms of securing the information, and then set a goal of digitizing those and shredding the paper copies if the paper copies don't matter.

Besides, scanning documents is really fast these days. Just get one of those portable scanners and set it to 300 dpi black-and-white scan settings, and you'll be done in no time. I eliminated about 70% of all my paper.

strafe
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Re: Do burglars steal and use paperwork?

Post by strafe » Fri Aug 16, 2019 6:07 pm

I'd be grateful for burglars that fill out paperwork.

7eight9
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Re: Do burglars steal and use paperwork?

Post by 7eight9 » Fri Aug 16, 2019 6:32 pm

Most burglars are likely not sophisticated criminals focused on stealing your identity. They are opportunists looking for cash/drugs or something that can quickly be converted to cash (gold/electronics/etc.). If you are worried about burglars that are going to steal your paperwork and use it then it would be advantageous to either digitize and store offsite or invest in a TL-xx rated safe.
I guess it all could be much worse. | They could be warming up my hearse.

JBTX
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Re: Do burglars steal and use paperwork?

Post by JBTX » Fri Aug 16, 2019 9:26 pm

lawman3966 wrote:
Tue Aug 13, 2019 2:03 pm
I'm pretty sure that they can and do. I don't have a cite for the partucular case I'm thinking of, but I recall a tv news story from years ago in which a dumpster diver accessed a man's credit card statements, hacked his identity, and made his life a living hell for years as he tried to correct the matter.
I've linked to a general article on dumpster diving driven ID theft. It seems to me that the records in your home are similar to the ones that "divers" find in dumpsters.

https://www.nextadvisor.com/what-to-kno ... ity-theft/
I guess what is confusing to me is how your name and address are supposedly sensitive information that should be shredded. Every piece of mail has your name and address.

There are a lot easier ways to get a name and address than dumpster diving. Online Property tax records, for starters.

sil2017
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Re: Do burglars steal and use paperwork?

Post by sil2017 » Fri Aug 23, 2019 11:44 am

My friend's apt was broken into several months ago. There was a pile of important documents (tax, bills etc) and the thief never touched it. He had several computers including a laptop which was not touched.

In his bedroom, the thief dumped his stuff onto the floor from the first drawer of his dresser. There were Euro dollar bills that was not touched.

He doesn't have jewelry so nothing missing.

In fact, he said he didn't notice anything taken. No cash other than Euro dollars in the house. No IDs as he carry it with all his credit cards everywhere he goes.

Small Savanna
Posts: 93
Joined: Sat Feb 09, 2019 2:27 am

Re: Do burglars steal and use paperwork?

Post by Small Savanna » Fri Aug 23, 2019 11:02 pm

It seems like the consensus is that this isn't a common problem. Even so, it may be a good reason to invest in a shredder and go paperless to the extent possible.

Charlieville
Posts: 20
Joined: Sat Jan 20, 2018 8:09 pm

Re: Do burglars steal and use paperwork?

Post by Charlieville » Fri Aug 23, 2019 11:05 pm

In the event of a break in throw out everything in your refrigerator and your toothbrushes. Throw out anything that can be consumed.

Topic Author
gd
Posts: 1520
Joined: Sun Nov 15, 2009 8:35 am
Location: MA, USA

Re: Do burglars steal and use paperwork?

Post by gd » Sat Aug 24, 2019 6:43 am

That story about the burglar eating the porridge was just an internet rumor.

Rus In Urbe
Posts: 489
Joined: Sat Dec 09, 2017 2:12 pm

Re: Do burglars steal and use paperwork?

Post by Rus In Urbe » Sat Aug 24, 2019 7:39 am

Interesting discussion about what burglars want to take....

Yes, burglars are not always the brightest bulbs. The only time I was burglarized was in a top-floor walk-up Manhattan apartment. I came home at midnight to hear their little feet running around inside, so I went to the neighbors across the hall and called the cops. They didn't get there in time to catch them, but the team of burglars had run along the roof, hitting a whole lot of top floor apartments with roof decks along a row of townhouses. They grabbed jewelry boxes (mine were only of sentimental value, but my roommate lost some valuable stuff), designer clothing and a fur jacket, and my very cheap stereo. Right underneath it, folded up, was an extremely valuable 18th century tapestry----that was still there of course, as it looked like a rotting old blanket from the backside. Whew. But I never lived in another apartment with that kind of roof access again.

Flash forward forty years-----here's what we do with paperwork: when we had our kitchen renovated, I designed a desk area with a shredder underneath it. The mail comes in and gets put into a basket, and then we process it when we have time. Almost all bills are on auto-pay, but those pesky credit card offers come, along with junk mail. Every few days (or less often), we sort, strip addresses and shred what we don't need, file some documents, and the rest of the paper goes to re-cycling. Usually I do this rather mindless task while watching a documentary or movie.

Long ago, I threw out past paperwork from investment accounts. I keep an online spreadsheet anyway and I don't need all that past data. What I need now is online or stored in the cloud. Current tax paperwork is in a locked file drawer and after filing, I bundle it into a boring-looking box and it goes into the basement for seven years. Every spring I take another (old) box to Staples where they have huge shredders.

Still on my to-do list is getting all our birth certificates and such documents into our safe deposit box. There's always something....

I'm now much more worried about online piracy.

Even though we practice the safety protocols (two-step ID and such), our SS numbers, passport numbers, bank account information are (I'm sure) all over the internet. Hackers break into major banks/investment firms constantly. It's only a matter of time before they figure out new ways of stealing online.

Cheers. :beer Rus
I'd like to live as a poor man with lots of money. ~Pablo Picasso

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