ALBANY, N.Y., April 17, 2018 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- New Yorkers fought back against fraud today and helped protect themselves from identity theft by shredding truckloads of sensitive personal documents as part of "Operation: Stop Scams," a series of free shredding events sponsored by AARP New York around the state.
AARP New York launched the initiative today with a free document shredding event in Albany. There, officials warned consumers about the growing problem of identity theft and provided important tips on how to protect themselves.
The event was one of more than 20 being held in New York State through June. AARP will host a total of more than 150 free local events in nearly every state and the District of Columbia.
Identity theft is a pernicious problem. Every two seconds someone's identity is stolen, and 16.7 million Americans were victimized by identity fraud last year. Overall fraud incidence climbed eight percent. A whopping 90 percent of New York Generation Xers and Baby Boomers called the prevalence of fraud, including identity theft, a "significant problem" for New Yorkers – with 63 percent saying it's a "very significant problem," according to a 2016 AARP NY/Siena College survey.
Last year, New York State residents registered more than 101,000 complaints about fraud with the Federal Trade Commission, including more than 20,000 reports of identity theft.
"We are all vulnerable to identity theft and being taken advantage of by fraudsters – especially seniors," said Attorney General Eric T. Schneiderman. "Shredding sensitive personal documents is an important way to prevent scammers from getting ahold of your information. I'm proud to stand with AARP in our commitment to protect all New Yorkers against identity theft, especially those who are at a heightened risk of being targeted by fraud."
"Vigilance against scammers is our number one weapon," said AARP New York State Director Beth Finkel. "Something as simple as shredding your sensitive documents can help keep your personal information out of the hands of identity thieves. Whether you want to protect your hard-earned credit rating or keep your retirement nest egg safe, we can all take action to stop identity theft before it happens. We hope all New Yorkers will take advantage of this important free service."
Additional Operation: Stop Scams events will take place throughout the state:
New York City:
Flushing, Queens: April 19, 9am-12pm, Flushing Town Hall, 137-35 Northern Blvd., Flushing, NY
Staten Island: April 19, 11:00am-2:00pm, HKC Campgrounds, 1131 Manor Road, Staten Island, NY
Bronx: April 21, 12pm-3pm, Eastchester Church of God, 3020 Eastchester Road, Bronx, NY
Brooklyn: April 25, 2pm-5pm, Glory of God Christian Center, 5910 Foster Avenue, Brooklyn, NY
Manhattan (Harlem): April 28, 9am-12pm, Esplanade Gardens, 2569 Adam Clayton Powell Blvd., New York, NY
Upstate New York:
Orchard Park: April 19, 9am-12pm, Chestnut Ridge County Park, 6121 Chestnut Ridge Rd., Orchard Park, NY
Syracuse: April 20, 9am-12pm, Destiny USA Mall, 9090 Destiny USA Dr. Syracuse, NY
Kingston: April 21, 10:00am-4:00pm, Forsyth Park, 157 Lucas Ave. Kingston, NY
Rochester: April 26, 9am-12pm, Panorama Plaza, 1601 Penfield Rd., Rochester, NY
Deer Park: April 22, 10am-12pm, Deer Park Library 44 Lake Avenue, Deer Park, NY
Garden City: April 22, 2pm-4pm, Garden City Library 60 7th Street, Garden City, NY
Freeport: April 24, 10am-1pm, Freeport Recreation Center 130 East Merrick Road, Freeport, NY
Brentwood: April 29, 12:30pm-3:30pm, Brentwood Public Library 34 Second Avenue, Brentwood, NY
New Hyde Park: May 5, 10am, Clinton G Martin Park 1650 Marcus Avenue, New Hyde Park, NY
Huntington Station: May 6, 2pm-4pm, South Huntington Public Library, 145 Pidgeon Hill Rd., Huntington Station, NY
Oyster Bay: June 3, 1pm-3pm, Oyster Bay – East Norwich Public Library 89 E Main St, Oyster Bay, NY
Nesconset: June 9, 10am-12pm, 127 12 Smithtown Blvd. Nesconset, NY
Long Beach: June 10, 11am-1pm, Lido Middle School 239 Lido Blvd, Long Beach, NY
Individuals may bring up to three grocery bags of paper documents to be shredded. Metal, plastic and other materials may damage shredders and will not be accepted. Shredding trucks will stay on site for the time scheduled or until they reach capacity.
Shredding services are being performed by third parties. All documents and information provided for shredding are subject to those parties' privacy and informational security policies. A full list of Operation Stop Scam events in New York State can be found at www.aarp.org/nystopscams.
For New Yorkers who cannot attend an Operation: Stop Scams event, security experts urge consumers to shred the following types of materials to avoid having sensitive information compromised:
- Old documents: Papers that carry your Social Security number, birth date, signature, account numbers, passwords or PIN numbers.
- Banking: Canceled or unused checks. Shred deposit slips and ATM and credit card receipts, once you receive your monthly statements.
- Credit Cards: Preapproved credit card applications and incentive/gift checks from credit card companies.
- Medical: unneeded medical bills.
- Investments: Investment account statements.
- Obsolete ID cards: Expired driver's licenses, medical insurance cards and passports.
The AARP Fraud Watch Network was launched in 2013 as a free resource for people of all ages. The website provides information about fraud and scams, prevention tips from experts, an interactive scam-tracking map, fun educational quizzes, and video presentations featuring Frank Abagnale. Users may sign up for "Watchdog Alert" emails that deliver breaking scam information, or call a free helpline at 877-908-3360 to speak with volunteers trained in fraud counseling.
SOURCE AARP New York