St. Louis, Mo., Oct. 19, 2009
- Nearly 175 area residents brought boxes and bags of sensitive documents to Edwardsville on Saturday, Oct. 17, for free shredding at a kickoff event for the second National Protect Your Identity Week, which runs through Saturday, Oct. 24.
Co-sponsors included the Better Business Bureau (BBB) Serving Eastern Missouri and Southern Illinois, the Illinois Attorney General, the Federal Trade Commission and the U.S. Postal Inspection Service. Free shredding service was donated by Shred-It, a Securit Company. The BBB joins the National Foundation of Credit Counseling in sponsoring National Protect Your Identity Week.
The BBB gave away personal shredders to drivers of the 75th and 125th cars at the event, held on the parking lot of the Schnucks supermarket at 2222 Troy Road in Edwardsville. Black & Decker donated the shredders. The recipients included an employee of Ramon’s El Dorado restaurant in Collinsville and a consumer, also from Collinsville, who said she brought an accumulation of items too numerous to shred on a personal shredder.
Identity theft affected more than 10 million people last year, up 22 percent from 2007. A report from Javelin Strategy and Research indicates that low-tech methods, such as obtaining account numbers from discarded mail or stolen wallets, accounted for 43 percent of identity theft, while online theft accounted for just 11 percent of cases reported to authorities.
“Identity fraud cost consumers and businesses $48 billion last year,” 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, canceled checks and carbon copies.
More information about Protect Your Identity Week is available at www.ProtectYourIDNOW.org
. The site includes an interactive quiz that can help consumers assess their risk of identity theft as well as videos, blogs and identity theft prevention tips. A Spanish version is at www.cuidesuidentidad.org
For more information about protecting your identity, contact the BBB at 314-645-3300 or www.bbb.org
Tracy Hardgrove, Vice President- Operations & Administration, 314-645-3300, firstname.lastname@example.org
Chris Thetford, Director of Communications, 314-645-3300, email@example.com