BECU Helps Protect Puget Sound Residents From Identity Theft With Free Document Shredding and Secure Computer Hard Drive Recycling on October 23rd

Oct 22, 2010, 15:00 ET from BECU

SEATTLE, Oct. 22 /PRNewswire/ -- BECU, Washington's largest credit union, is launching a community initiative to help prevent identify theft, offering educational tips plus paper-shredding, hard drive erasure and secure computer recycling services at select Puget Sound locations on Saturday, October 23rd from 10 am1 pm. The events are free of charge and open to everyone.

Event details include:

  • BECU Tukwila Financial Center parking lot, 12770 Gateway Dr.
    • Paper shredding, hard drive erasure and computer recycling
  • BECU Everett Financial Center parking lot, 11127 Evergreen Way S.
    • Paper shredding, hard drive erasure and computer recycling
  • BECU Federal Way Pavilion parking lot, 31411 Pacific Hwy S.
    • Paper shredding and computer recycling only

"BECU is committed to helping our community members prevent identity theft by offering practical solutions to protecting their personal information," said Ken Kinloch, Information Protection Officer at BECU. "Identity theft can happen to anyone, and we invite the entire community to come learn how to protect yourself, shred your personal paperwork, and safely recycle your computer."

According to the Federal Trade Commission's (FTC) Consumer Sentinel Network, identity theft is their top consumer complaint category – with 278,078 consumers reporting complaints in 2009. To deter identify theft, the FTC recommends that consumers always shred charge paperwork such as receipts, copies of credit applications, insurance forms, physician statements, checks and bank statements, expired charge cards, and credit offers received in the mail.

BECU's identity theft prevention events will accept home electronics products and up to three garbage bags or two banker boxes full of paper for free shredding from each individual. Computer hard drives accepted for recycling will be demagnetized with a mobile device called a degauss machine that erases all information. Computer hard drives can pose a risk of identity theft because thieves can recover deleted files and internet browsing history unless the hard drives are "degaussed" -- magnetically erased.

Each event will feature an Iron Mountain Secured Shredding truck, secure shredding bins, refreshments and an information center providing tips on how to avoid becoming an identity theft victim, including:

  • Being careful with personal information including your Social Security number, mother's maiden name, and account numbers
  • Paying attention to what time of month your bills arrive
  • Guarding your mail from theft
  • Selecting strong passwords for your credit card, bank, and phone accounts
  • Avoiding carrying unnecessary credit cards or ID cards, such as a social security card.

"Properly disposing of your computer is important not only for security purposes, but also for environmental reasons," said Kinloch. "Computers contain toxic materials such as lead, cadmium and mercury. Reusing and recycling electronics keeps these toxic materials out of the landfill and also recovers valuable resources."

For more information about preventing identity theft, go to or

About BECU

Governed by a volunteer Board of Directors, BECU is a not-for-profit credit union owned by the members. Profits are returned to the members in the form of better rates and fewer fees. With more than 650,000 members and more than $9 billion in assets, BECU is the largest credit union in Washington and one of the top five financial cooperatives in the country. BECU currently operates over 45 locations in the Puget Sound region. All Washington state residents and students attending Washington colleges and universities are eligible to join.