Shredding event aims to help prevent identity theft

Thursday, October 7, 2010 at 1:50am

Don’t know what to do with that box of documents that contain sensitive personal information? Get it out of your way and make sure no one else gets their hands on it at a free secure shredding event Saturday.

The Tennessee Division of Consumer Affairs will host a free shredding event from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m., Saturday, Oct. 9 at LP Field’s Lot D. There will be a two-box maximum limit per vehicle. Newspaper and cardboard will not be accepted.

“Our goal is to provide a convenient location and time for consumers to shred old documents that contain personal information before discarding them, in an effort to deter identity thieves,” said Consumer Affairs Director Mary Clement.

“Everyone is at risk of having their information stolen and misused, regardless of their age or credit history,” she said. “We would like consumers to make a habit of regularly shredding outdated, personal documents to lessen the risk of leaving themselves vulnerable to identity theft.”

Last year’s three-hour shredding event in Middle Tennessee collected and shredded 9.8 tons of paper; it was part of a larger, statewide Consumer Affairs event that shredded 16.3 tons of paper altogether.

Identity thieves have been known to rifle through trash cans and large garbage bins in search of such private documents, bills or other documents containing consumers’ personal information. Once the fraudsters steal the information, they may rent an apartment, obtain a credit card or establish a telephone account in the victim’s name.

While victims might not find out about thefts until they receive a credit card statement in the mail, it can take years and hundreds of dollars to restore a person’s good name and credit. In the meantime, negative information on a credit report can affect job opportunities and access to credit.