Free shred-a-thons planned statewide this spring AG Cooper urges consumers to safely dispose of old documents to reduce ID theft

North Carolina consumers can get rid of documents containing personal information safely at one of more than 30 shred-a-thon events across the state this spring, Attorney General Roy Cooper, announced last week.

 

“Identity thieves aren’t above going through your trash to find information they can use to run up debts in your name,” Cooper said. “Protect yourself by shredding old documents that include personal financial information at a free shred-a-thon near you.”

 

Consumers can protect themselves from identity theft by bringing pre-approved credit card offers, old bills, out-of-date account statements and other documents that include personal information to any of the free shred-a-thons.

 

Local sponsors have scheduled free shredding events across North Carolina during March and April, and more sites will be announced in coming weeks. Thus far shred-a-thons are scheduled in: Brunswick, Buncombe, Cabarrus, Caldwell, Durham, Edgecombe, Forsyth, Guilford, Halifax/Warren, Henderson, Lincoln, Mecklenburg, Nash, Orange, Randolph, Union, Wake, Watauga, and Wilson counties.

 

For dates, times, exact locations and other details about shred-a-thons, see the complete list of events at ncdoj.gov.

 

The shred-a-thons are sponsored by a number of groups, including Cooper’s office, the Better Business Bureau, banks and credit unions, shredding companies, local governments, businesses, civic groups, law enforcement.

 

Local groups that would like tips on how to organize shred-a-thons in their communities can contact the Attorney General’s Office at Outreach@ncdoj.gov.

 

For more protection from identity theft, Cooper also suggests that consumers:

 

  • Guard your personal information. Don’t carry your Social Security card, and 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 contacts, 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 www.annualcreditreport.com 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.

 

  • 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 www.ncdoj.gov.

 

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

 

-Submitted by Noelle Talley

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