Free Shred-A-Thons to Allow Consumers to Safely Dispose of Old Financial Records
Shredding out-of-date records can protect consumers from having their identities stolen
North Carolina Attorney General Roy Cooper has announced more than 35 free shred-a-thons across the state this fall as a way to help consumers protect themselves from identity theft.
"ID thieves will even stoop to going through your trash to find old bills and credit card offers," Cooper said. "Protect yourself by shredding documents that include personal financial information at a free shred-a-thon near you."
Consumers should bring out-of-date financial documents that include personal information to the events to be shredded. Examples of such documents include pre-approved credit card offers and old account statements.
Shred-a-thons are currently scheduled to take place during October and November in the following locations: Asheville, Charlotte, Flat Rock, Greensboro, Raleigh, Wilmington, and Winston-Salem, as well as Ashe, Brunswick, Cabarrus, Caldwell, Chowan, Davidson, Edgecombe, Nash, Forsyth, Guilford, Gaston, Halifax, Johnston, Lenoir, Mecklenburg, Union, Orange, Wake, and Wayne counties.
Additional events may be added to these throughout the fall.
The events are sponsored by several groups, including the North Carolina Attorney General's Office, the Better Business Bureau, banks and credit unions, shredding companies, local governments, businesses, civic groups, and law enforcement.
A.G. Cooper offers the following additional suggestions to consumers seeking to protect themselves from identity theft:
- Guard personal information. Consumers should not carry their Social Security cards with them and should only provide their Social Security Numbers when absolutely necessary. They should never share the number, or any other personal financial information, with any person you do not know, regardless of who they claim they are. Legitimate companies will not request your personal information in this manner.
- Make regular checks of your credit report. Consumers have the right to one free credit report each year from every one of the three major credit bureaus. They can request a free report from a different bureau every four months in order to keep track of their credit throughout the year. To obtain a free report, consumers should go to AnnualCreditReport.com.
- Consider obtaining a free credit report freeze. Consumers can freeze their credit reports online at no charge in order to further guard against identity theft. Senior citizens and consumers who have suffered from identity theft in the past can freeze theirs for free by telephone or by mail. Placing such freezes on a consumer's credit prevents thieves from being able to open new accounts or take our credit cards or loans in that consumer's name.
- Stop pre-approved credit card applications. Consumers can choose to stop receiving pre-approved credit card applications that can be stolen by identity thieves and used to obtain credit in a consumer's name. To opt-out, consumers should visit OptOutPreScreen.com or call (888) 567-8688.