O'FALLON, Ill., April 30, 2016 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- As part of its ongoing efforts to help consumers avoid falling victim to identity theft, AARP Illinois is joining today with O'Fallon's First United Methodist Church to sponsor "Shred Fest 2016" – an event to provide free shredding of personal financial documents and other sensitive records.
The O' Fallon event is one of dozens of Shred Fest 2016 events scheduled for communities nationwide, during Money Smart Week® April 23-30, with support from the AARP Fraud Watch Network and the AARP Foundation.
"Financial fraud causes millions of dollars in losses each year," said Julie Vahling, AARP Illinois Associate State Director for Advocacy and Outreach. "With the tax-filing season behind us, we're encouraging taxpayers to do a spring cleaning of their old financial documents and other records."
"Identity thieves routinely search through dumpsters and trash cans, looking to find confidential information. Our Shred Fest 2016 event will allow consumers to discard this paperwork in a safe and secure manner," Vahling added.
In 201, over 20,000 Illinoisans registered complaints about identity theft with the Federal Trade Commission.
To avoid having your sensitive information compromised, security experts recommend shredding of the following types of materials:
- 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.
And for those consumers who use a home shredder, experts also recommend the use of a micro-cut model. Tests have shown that the scraps of paper from a straight or cross-cut shredder can be reassembled by identity thieves. With a micro-cut shredder, the paper is rendered into impossible-to-reassemble debris.
More information on how to keep yourself safe from identity theft fraud, and alerts regarding other types of scams, is available from the Fraud Watch Network at www.aarp.org/FraudWatchNetwork.
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SOURCE AARP Illinois