WEST SPRINGFIELD, Mass. (WWLP) – It’s that time of year again to make sure your personal information is protected. As we approach the end of tax season it is important to be mindful of how to discard documents containing sensitive or personal information.

22News attended the Helping Hands shredding event that took place on Saturday. The event is is a great time to clean out your personal documents from your home. The event kicked off at 9:00 a.m. on Saturday at the West Springfield Town Hall parking lot and ran until 12:00 p.m. Community members had the chance to safely get rid of old documents, while also dropping off donated non-perishable food items.

“Shredding documents that have sensitive information on them is a great way to prevent identity theft,” expressed Richard Peck of West Springfield’s Helping Hands.

That was a big reason why Debbie O’Neil of West Springfield stopped by, “Well I’m moving, so I’m going through documents. It’s tax season, and I think it’s important that you’re not leaving your numbers and your important paperwork.”

During tax season questions arise over which documents to keep and which to toss. Here’s what you should shred immediately, according to the Federal Trade Commission:

  • Sales and ATM receipts
  • Paid credit card statements
  • Paid utility bills
  • Credit offers
  • Canceled checks that are not tax-related
  • Expired warranties

The FTC says you can wait up to one year to shred pay stubs, and bank statements, and pay undisputed medical bills. By following this advice, experts say that you greatly reduce your risk of falling victim to identity theft.