Columbus Police, First Citizens Bank to host a Shred-a-thon May 22

Published 11:53 pm Thursday, May 7, 2015


Program offers opportunity to dispose of confidential papers, prevent identity theft


On Friday May 22, Columbus Police Department and First Citizens Bank will offer a free opportunity to shred and destroy confidential papers and documents.


All community members are invited to participate. The event will be held from 11 a.m.-12:30 p.m. in the parking lot of First Citizens Bank, 80 Walker St, Columbus, across from the Columbus Police Department.  Please contact Chief Chris Beddingfield with questions at 828-894-5464 or


Bring your old bills, bank statements, junk mail, and any old documents that bear your name, address, social security number or account numbers on it. You do not need to remove staples or paper clips. By having your documents shredded, you prevent identity theft, and you are helping the environment.  The Columbus Police Department and First Citizens Bank will have volunteers on hand to assist you in carrying your boxes from your car to the shredder.


–       Submitted by Chief Chris Beddingfield




More than 13 million people in the US are victims of identity theft each year.  In North Carolina, about 400,000 people are victimized annually and North Carolina ranks 24th in the nation in terms of identity theft.


For more protection from identity theft, the Columbus Police Department suggests the following tips:

  • Guard your personal information. Don’t carry your Social Security card. Give out your Social Security Number only when absolutely necessary. Never share your SSN or other personal financial information with anyone you don’t know who calls you or emails you, no matter who they claim to be.  Legitimate companies will not ask for your personal information this way.


  • Check your credit reports regularly. You’re entitled to one free credit report every year from each of the three major credit bureaus. To get your free report, go to or call 1-877-322-8228. To track your credit throughout the year, request a free report from a different credit bureau every four months. North Carolina is the first state in the nation to require all credit monitoring services to tell you how to get credit reports for free.


  • Consider a free security freeze. Guard against ID theft by freezing your credit reports online for free. Seniors and victims of identity theft can also freeze their credit by telephone or mail for free. Placing security freezes on your credit prevents identity thieves from opening new accounts or taking out credit cards and loans in your name. Detailed information about how to place a security freeze is available at


  • Stop pre-approved credit card applications. Call 1-888-5-OPT-OUT or visit to stop pre-approved credit card applications that an ID thief could steal and use to get credit in your name.