Do you tear the address labels off boxes before you recycle them?

I always rip the address labels off my Amazon boxes (and other shipments) before I put the boxes out for recycling. I also remove the labels from the envelopes and clothes bags they ship things in as well. I have been told that is paranoid but to me it has my name, address and phone number (yeah Amazon puts your number in really tiny print on there too) so it is worth the hassle to me. Do you bother to do that too?

No. But then I’m bad to the bone

Anyone driving down my street can see my address. The house number is posted right beside my door. Makes it easier for emergency responders to find the house.

I don’t worry about an address on an old package or most junk mail.

I do shred credit card applications, life insurance applications and other garbage I’m sent. I don’t want someone applying for a card or insurance in my name.

Nah, don’t care. What are they gonna do with my address. They used to publish whole books with everyone’s address and phone number. Remember phone books?

How do you think fraudsters could use that information? Where do you dispose of the ripped-off label?

I generally do not if I am putting the boxes in MY recycling bin (it’s the same bin my junk mail with my address on it goes). However, if I reuse the box for say, donating clothes, or shipping something, then I will remove the label.

As an aside - it is good practice to ensure your recycling bin does not contain full boxes from your holiday shopping spree. Especially if the lid cannot be closed - people CAN see that you just got a nice, new flat-screen TV that way - it’s not something you should advertise. Be sure to chop-up large boxes so they fit well into the bin and are out of site.

Your name address and phone number, along with that of billions of other people, are easily in hundreds of poorly-secured databases around the world.

Anyone who wants to get a bunch of names and addresses and phone numbers has a far easier task than sifting through the trash.

If you’re getting regular boxes delivered due to internet orders, that horse has already left the barn and sired a thousand other ponies somewhere.

I’d say no, with one caveat*.

If I’m going to re-use them to mail something, I’ll use a marker to cover over the addresses. This is more to ensure that there’s no confusion as to where it’s going or coming from, though, not as a security measure.

*Of course there’s someone quibbling over details. This is the Dope! :smiley:

It’s very easy to get loads of personal info on you without going through the trash. I don’t even bother shredding CC applications; the one time someone opened an account in my name it was through a phone application (resolved very quickly with a single phone call, by the way). The only thing I make sure to shred is the cash advance checks that sometimes come with credit card bills.

On the other hand, I do spend a great deal of time shredding old records, bills, receipts, check registers, etc. I figure that in the aggregate there’s enough info there to do some harm that might be difficult to rectify.

I said yes but I’m more of an “it depends”. Amazon - yeah. Lots of personal info on that label if you know how to read it from my phone number to other details. With eBay and the usual labels sellers use not so much so.

Collect five hundred of them, put 'em in a box and mail them back to Amazon

I do, but primarily because if a box or wrapper blows out of my recycling bin while the garbage truck is swinging it overhead, I don’t want some idiot bringing it back to me and saying, “Don’t litter on my lawn!”

I took the true lesson of Alice’s Restaurant to heart.

No. Even if I was concerned about someone getting that information, which I’m not, I throw my recycling directly into the compactor myself so there’s zero chance of the boxes getting in someone else’s hands before the boxes are mangled. We don’t have that fancy trash and recycling pick up in this town.

I used to try to do it all the time. But now it’s so common that I only worry about valuable items. E.g., a TV set box. Tear the label off, cut up it up so it doesn’t remotely look like a TV set box.

What do I do with the labels? Into a trashbag. Note that the trashbag and the box are kept apart. Someone would have to go to amazing effort to link the two.

People here are underestimating the number of people that are always on the make, as it were, and looking for tidbits of info that can help them cause trouble.

Sure, my address is all over the place, but a piece of mail from a credit card company with my address on it is not at all the same thing.

(I destroy such things, including the millions of credit card offers I am not supposed to be getting, by wetting them down in the sink and making a sludge ball out of them. Those forms are really nasty when they fall into the wrong hands.)

Proper security means assuming that there are people out there trying to cause problems for you and assuming that everything else is in place so all they need you to do is be lazy and they’ve got you.

Never rely on “What are the chances those other steps happened?”
Never rely on “What are the odds that …”

You can’t make it truly impossible, but you can make it really, really difficult. For basically a paranoid definition of “difficult”.

(FWIW: Read the following on Slashdot yesterday:

You know, those chips they put in credit cards to “improve security”. If the people in charge of protecting these are this bad, how good of a job do you think you’re doing?)

I appreciate your vigilance, but I take a different view. I’ve been lazy all my life and I’ve never been a victim in this way.

The one time someone did try to rip me off, it was someone I trusted in my home, who went into my drawer, found my check book and stole some blank checks. (The bank caught her on the first attempt to cash one)

My sister is paranoid about this kind of stuff. She cuts all address labels off of magazines, makes sure there are none of those little postcard things in the pages of the magazine that might have her address on them, all junk mail gets shredded, etc. She even refuses to have her address put on her personal checks! I told her, “you know your actual bank account number is on the check don’t you?” She had no comment.

Me, I just toss everything in the recycling. I rip credit card offers in half or fourths, but that’s about it.

According to the link, they were compromised through malware, card skimmers and POS shenanigans where some merchant is swiping your card/info. Nothing about them being compromised by your discarded Amazon box.

This is a good reason to look at your monthly statements, keep an eye on your bank records or even consider credit monitoring services. Not really a good reason to get paranoid about shipping labels.

This seems…labor intensive. Might be easier to just freeze your credit.

We don’t shred or remove labels. Our address is public record. I also don’t get why people selling cars blur out the license plate. They’re visible in public, why hid it in a photo?

I in no way said it was. It was a general comment on how difficult it is to maintain security. Hence the statement: “If the people in charge of protecting these are this bad, how good of a job do you think you’re doing?”

Security’s biggest problem are the people. They can never really be convinced to take basic security steps no matter what. The worst of all are all the people who say things like “I’ve never taken security seriously and I’ve never had a problem so it’s all a waste.” Grrrr.

Sure, but if you’re going to take something seriously, take something seriously that matters. Time spent monitoring your credit to protect yourself from stolen credit card data via skimmers and POS theft is many leagues more productive than worrying about package labels. Package labels are something way down the list that you worry about after the actual significant threats are being handled in some fashion.

This. Some of the boxes that get delivered may have the vendor’s name printed on the outside (e.g. Amazon), but that doesn’t convey any info about what was in the box - coulda been $5 worth of cereal, or $1000 worth of electronics.

Even if the shipping box gives some hint of the value it once contained, like maybe the box says “Crutchfield” on it, a miscreant could come to my neighborhood and safely assume that everyone on my street has comparably priced goods within.

I do cut up boxes for disposal, but only as much as is necessary to fit them in the recycling bin.