It occurred to me recently that I’ve been carrying two copies of my credit card around in my wallet; the expired one, and the replacement. Don’t ask me how I managed to not notice the two of them together, I’m really not sure how it happened. Needless to say, I need to get rid of the old one.
STEPS TO THROWING OUT A CREDIT CARD
Step 1: Remove card from wallet
Step 2: Place card in garbage can
Step 3: Place garbage out on curb for pick up
That is by far the easiest way to throw out a credit card.
It’s also the easiest way to set yourself up for identity theft, so I don’t really encourage you to go that route!
STEPS TO PROPERLY THROWING OUT A CREDIT CARD
Step 1: Remove card from wallet
Step 2: Run the strongest magnet you have across the strip on the back. This should scramble the information contained within the strip.
Step 3: Cut through the strip a couple times. In the event the magnet didn’t actually scramble the information on the strip, you’ll want to physically damage it so that no one can try running it through a reader of any sort.
Step 4: Cut out the numbers. It’s best if you cut right close to the numbers and don’t leave any plastic around them to make it easier to put the numbers back together. You could leave them in four number bundles, but I’d seriously encourage you to cut apart every digit. Why? Think about it this way:
Number of digits to arrange: 2
Number of ways to arrange 2 digits: 2
Number of digits to arrange: 3
123, 132, 213, 231, 312, 321
Number of ways to arrange 3 digits: 6
If you give them 4 number bunches, there are 24 possible combinations they could use, but it gets narrowed down faster when you consider that most credit cards start with the same digits.
If you give them 16 individual pieces, there are over twenty trillion possible combinations.
Which would you rather give an identity thief?
Step 5: Cut up your name. This is probably an easy one to get ahold of, but why make their life any easier?
Step 6: Cut up the chip. Most new credit cards have chips in them now that hold onto your personal information. What’s scary about these chips is that the information can be lifted off them without even physically touching the card. Put a couple cuts into the chip and you’ll be good to go.
Step 7: Cut up your signature. You don’t want someone forging that on new applications. You can also cut up the digits on the back of the card as well when you’re cutting up the signature, but fortunately these digits change every time you get a new card.
Step 8: Throw out the pieces. At this point you could let the thief have his chances with your 20 trillion number combinations (realistically it’s less than this because there’s duplicate numbers, but oh well), or you could make his task even harder. Sprinkle the numbers between a couple garbage cans. If you want to be a real royal pain, suck a couple numbers up with your vacuum and empty it on another garbage day.
Step 9: Take out the garbage.
Overkill? Probably. This goes a lot faster if you have a shredder that will cut through credit cards. Don’t automatically throw your card into a paper shredder though, not all of them are built for chewing through plastic.
How do you get rid of your expired plastic?
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