St. Louis, Mo., April 3, 2013 - The Better Business Bureau (BBB) is offering consumers and businesses a chance to safely destroy outdated but sensitive documents at a “Shred Day,” Saturday, April 20, at Saint Louis Galleria, I-64 at Brentwood Blvd.
Consumers can shred up to three boxes of documents from 8 a.m. to noon. The BBB asks that consumers use bags or boxes that can be shredded along with papers. Consumers will receive information on identity theft protection.
The BBB and the Consumer Fraud Task Force are co-sponsors of the event. Shred-It, a Securit company, is donating the shredding service.
“Shredding outdated documents is a great way to limit your exposure to ID theft,” said Michelle L. Corey, BBB president and CEO. “Protecting yourself is a must.
Officials recommend shredding any documents that contain financial information, account numbers, PINs, birth dates, or Social Security numbers. Examples include expired ID cards, legal documents, credit card and bank statements and canceled checks. See bbb.org/us/Identity-Theft-Resources/ for a guide to document retention.
In addition to shredding outdated or unneeded documents, the BBB has 10 steps you can take to protect your identity:
- Shred statements and applications you get in the mail that you don’t want to keep. These include credit card applications, insurance forms, financial statements, health forms, billing statements from utilities and phone service.
- Cut up expired credit and debit cards. Make sure you cut through the numbers.
- Protect your Social Security number, all account numbers and passwords. Don’t carry these numbers in your wallet. Give out personal identifiers only when absolutely necessary. Beware of unsolicited e-mails and phone calls if someone asks for the numbers.
- Secure personal documents at home. If you have roommates, employ outside help or have contractors in your home, make sure personal documents are in a safe place and not lying out in plain sight.
- Minimize personal information printed on checks. You don’t need to include your Social Security number, driver’s license or phone number.
- Monitor bank and credit card transactions for unauthorized transactions. Crooks may start with small transactions to see if you notice.
- Pay attention to billing cycles. If bills don’t arrive on time, follow up with your creditors.
- Don’t create obvious passwords. Avoid using your birth date, child’s name or birth date, mother’s maiden name or the last four digits of your Social Security number.
- If you conduct business online, use your own computer. A public computer is less secure.
- Never use email to communicate sensitive personal information. Don’t respond to emails asking to verify your personal information and identifiers. Neither your bank, credit card company, online payment system nor the IRS will call or email asking you for confidential information. They already have it.
For more information on protecting your identity or to check out a BBB Business Review or charity report, contact the BBB at www.bbb.org or 314-645-3300.
Contacts (News Media Only): Michelle Corey, President & CEO, 314-645-0606, firstname.lastname@example.org, or Tracy Hardgrove, Vice President, Operations & Administration, 314-584-6802, email@example.com