Local residents can help protect their identity by shredding documents with sensitive information, Better Business Bureau officials said.
BBB is inviting individuals and businesses to participate in the seventh annual Secure Your ID Day and offering document shredding and hard drive destruction Saturday, April 21.
The event will be from 8:30-11 a.m. at Calhoun Community College’s Limestone County campus and from 1- 3:30 p.m. at the U.S. Space and Rocket Center in Huntsville.
BBB officials also will offer advice and resources to help consumers and businesses protect
themselves from identity theft.
Participants are invited to bring boxes or bags of paper documents to safely shred in a commercial shredding truck in a quick and easy drive through arrangement. You do not have to remove paper clips or staples and old check book registers, CDs and floppy disks will be accepted. All shredded documents will be recycled after the event.
Hard drives should be removed from the computer before arrival. Standard hard drives will be crushed on site and larger hard drives will be incinerated after the event.
“Shredding sensitive paper documents is an important first step, but it doesn’t end there,” said Tricia Pruitt, regional vice president of the BBB. “That’s why BBB experts will also be distributing important advice and simple steps everyone can take to prevent ID theft in their daily lives, both online and off.”
Pruitt said Alabama ranks 15th in the nation in number of reported incidences of ID theft. The report notes that 56 percent of ID theft occurs when the thief had direct contact with the victim’s personal information, through a stolen or lost wallet, rifling through a personal mailbox or trashcan, or even lifting documents from inside a home or business.
“This is largely a crime of access,” Pruitt said. “Our goal here is to make the information less accessible and empower people to be their own first line of defense against identity theft. With community-based BBBs across North America collaborating simultaneously, we’ll have a tremendous coast-to-coast presence that will reach a lot of people and, hopefully, prevent a lot of theft.”
The local event is part of a coordinated nationwide BBB effort.
The BBB of North Alabama is partnering with Family Security Credit Union, Benjamin Franklin Plumbing, Secure Destruction Service, Document Destruction Service, Calhoun Community College, 3M in Decatur, Cook’s Pest Control, Lynn Layton Chevrolet, Allstate Insurance - Brad Johnson Agency, McClary Ford Lincoln Mercury, WHNT News Channel 19, Knology and WYAM TV 51.