In relation to this question about credit card receipts, is it safe to just throw away receipts where I have used a debit card?

In addition, would it be any more worth while burning/shredding receipts before throwing them away?


This depends on where your throwing it, usually workplaces and anywhere other than your home can be dangerous. It also depends on the goal of the person who finds your debit card information.

"Dumpster Diving" is the act of someone physically going through your bin to try and find some information on you. A lot of hackers/social engineers use this for Reconnaissance or identity theft. ( I can't tell you how useful your old debit card info could be, most people throw theirs into the bin or the side of the road even and barely face any repercussions from it), it all depends on how much of a target you are to attackers.

Does your old debit card receipt have any information that could help someone find more information on you? Yeah it does. The last four digits of your card would make it easier for someone to find your complete card number (although it would still be difficult).

Someone looking to forge your signature might also find it useful.

Hope this helps, cheers.


"Is it safe to throw away debit card receipts in the bin?" yes and no, factly its just the principle of keeping notes with private information tight with you (every piece of info is costly and reserved). Are DCR's highly detailed and full of information (which normally are not) and is your bin on the edge of street, then you can see this as a potential risk. But in reality, this is not that important if you are working in a well ruled company. Of course someone would have interest in this, but likely doing nothing with it.

There is another option: use an alcohol based marker or black ink, mark the most important lines.

Would it be any more worth while burning/shredding receipts before throwing them away? Now you are free-of-risk.


"Is X Safe?"

Simply: No. X is not safe. X is never safe. Plug anything you want into X. For fun, try putting 'being safe' into X.

Now it's important to note that there is a difference between safety and safe. Safe is an actual absence of potential harm. Safety is either a feeling characterized by absence of perceived unacceptable risk or an attitude of mitigating risk.

Okay, I'm scared... really, X is never safe?

X is never safe. Staying entirely prone and unmoving has health risks, as does getting up and going out for a jog. Burning your receipts introduces the risk of burning your fingers. Even trying to play it safe introduces the risks of missing opportunities to avoid certain types of harm, or of even advancing oneself.

X is never safe -- but it doesn't HAVE to be. Once we accept that X is never safe, we can consider the really important question: given the anticipated costs and given the anticipated risk, is the anticipated benefit worth it to X?

CRB - Cost, Risk, Benefit

If to do X means there is an anticipated cost of US$1, a anticipated 50% risk of having to pay an additional US$1, but the anticipated benefit is receiving US$100 -- safe-enough! For most people in a modern first world nation, US$2 (or local equiv) is not the difference between life and death. Even if the risk happens and the anticipated benefit doesn't pan out, all that was lost is US$2.

  • Think of cost as the ante -- you KNOW you must pay that much to even get a chance at the benefit.
  • Think of the risk as analogous to a bet -- you're willing to pay it, but you hope you don't have to pay it, and if you do have to pay it, that the benefit is greater than the total of actualized cost and actualized risk.
  • Think of the benefit as the pot -- you're hoping to acquire this resource and that if you do acquire it, it will cover any actualized costs and actualized risks.

To answer the question asked, one would first have to define the parameters of one's risk tolerance. How much is one willing to pay to keep a receipt in a particular circumstance, and how much is one willing to pay to destroy it in a particular circumstance? In a particular circumstance, what does one anticipate are the risks? How likely are those risks to happen? What are the additional costs if the risks happen? What benefit is procured from doing X?

Is it safe ENOUGH to throw away my receipts?

For me personally, the costs of keeping and costs of discarding are both low, but keeping is higher than discarding (while both are low, keep is a sizeable multiple of discard). For me personally, I perceive the anticipated risk as low -- with last four and a last name or full name and knowledge of my location, I don't see great risk that an attacker could acquire information I would care that the attacker had, even though this might involve identity theft. For me personally, the only benefit to keeping and securely destroying is peace of mind, which I do not greatly value.

Needless to say -- I usually tell a cashier who offers me a receipt to just throw it out unless I need it to get out the exit door.

I would say that for me, it is SAFE ENOUGH.

If someone else evaluates the costs, risks, and benefits differently, it might make sense for them to maintain custody of their receipts until such time as that person can securely destroy.

Such a person would say that it is NOT SAFE ENOUGH.

So it's subjective?

Whether X is safe enough or not is entirely subjective. Certainly there are statistical analyses that can give anticipated return on investment. These analyses may help define one's operational parameters, or help one gauge one's risk tolerance.

However, where a person draws that line determines whether X is safe enough or not.

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