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Is there any danger in throwing away bank documents including personal information from a bank I no longer have an account with? To be more specific, I am moving from the UK to the US and have in my possession a bank draft from my UK bank which I will cash within a week. Is there any worst-case kind of scenario involving me throwing away old bank statements, transfer details, etc.?

  • Throw away, or destroy? (Shred, burn or otherwise make them unreadable before your own eyes.) – MrChrister Jan 30 '14 at 14:32
  • Throw away, like in the trash can behind the flat. – Mikhail Jan 30 '14 at 14:37
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There are two questions:

  • how long do you have to keep some records for tax purposes.
  • is there a danger if bank information from a closed account is found.

Looking only at the second question.

The information on a typical bank statement will include name, account number, address, balances. It could even contain information about other accounts if intra-bank or inter-bank transfers were done. This information can be enough for some unsavory people to tap info your credit history or to open new credit accounts.

I have seen several web based systems for new credit cards where they tap into your credit history and ask you which bank was yours when you lived in city x. They give you 5 to pick from. Knowing the answer cuts down on guessing.

Over time this information becomes less useful but there is a window where it is still usable. Since the bank account has not been closed yet the window of usability isn't even close to being closed.

The most prudent way to get rid of the documents is by shredding, either using your own shredder or with a service.

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