Identity Theft: Shred it and Forget it!

Chicago, IL–(ENEWSPF)– Identity theft is the fastest growing crime in the U.S. According to a recent study released by the BBB over 8.4 million people became a victim of identity theft in 2006. In that same year the economic loss was a staggering 49.3 billion dollars!

Fortunately, while not completely preventable, you can take steps to protect yourself.

The Better Business Bureau of Chicago and Northern Illinoisalong with the West Suburban Bank, Federal Trade Commission, and the United States Postal Inspection Service, are hosting the 3rd Annual Shredder Day – Shred it & Forget it!

Shredder Day is being held to give residents and small businesses an opportunity to dispose of their unwanted personal financial/confidential documents for free.

The event will be held Saturday, September 20th, at West Suburban Bank, 2800 S. Finley Rd, Downers Grove, IL 60515 (Near Route 56 & Finley Rd, next to Kohl’s). Hours for Shredder Day are 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. A shredder truck will be on hand to destroy all the sensitive material.

Residents are asked to limit the information they want shredded to 4 boxes of documents.

In addition, representatives from the participating organizations will be on hand to offer guidelines for shredding documents, and answer questions about how to keep your personal information safe.

Here are some suggestions for deciding how long to keep personal financial information:

  • The IRS has three years from your tax-filing date to audit, and has six years to challenge a claim. A good rule of thumb is to keep all tax returns and supporting documentation for seven years.
  • Keep credit card statements for seven years if tax related expenses are documented.
  • Keep paycheck stubs for one year. Be sure to cross reference the paycheck stub to the W-2 form.
  • Be sure to keep bank statements and cancelled checks for at least one year.
  • Bills should kept for one year or until the cancelled check has been returned. Receipts for large ticket items should be kept for insurance purposes.
  • Home improvement receipts should be kept for six years or permanently.
  • Items such as birth certificates, social security cards, insurance policies, titles or wills should be kept permanently in a safety deposit box.
  • If you are going to dispose of documents with sensitive information, be sure to SHRED!

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As a private, non-profit organization, the purpose of the Better Business Bureau is to promote an ethical marketplace. BBBs help resolve buyer/seller complaints by means of conciliation, mediation and arbitration. BBBs also review advertising claims, online business practices and charitable organizations. BBBs develop and issuereports on businesses and nonprofit organizations and encourage people to check out a company or charity before making a purchase or donation.