In 2015, 13.1 million Americans reported they were victim of identity fraud.
It only takes one misplaced personal document to give someone everything needed to steal an identity.
Protecting your identity is largely in your own hands. Did you know that, every two seconds, someone becomes an identity fraud victim? The first rule of protection is if you don't need it, shred it - responsibly.
To help combat ID theft and educate the public on best practices to secure personal information, Better Business Bureau of Upstate New York, in partnership with Tops Friendly Markets, Shred-It and AT&T, will host "Secure Your ID Day" on Saturday, Oct. 8, from 10 a.m. until 2 p.m. across upstate New York. The free community shredding service event includes two local locations, the Tops Friendly Markets at 355 Orchard Park Road, West Seneca, and 3865 Union Road (corner of George Urban Boulevard), Cheektowaga (in the parking lots).
Community members are welcome to bring up to three boxes or bags of documents for free, onsite shredding. Volunteers from the partnering organizations will be on hand to assist and distribute safety tips.
BBBs across North America participate in this event every year.
"We know that securely shredding documents with your personal information is a great way to help prevent identity fraud and theft," said Warren Clark, president of Better Business Bureau of Upstate New York. "Last year, we collected and securely destroyed over 14 tons of paper. We are proud to offer this service to the public and our accredited businesses."
"As part of our 'Neighbors Helping Neighbors' philosophy, this event fits in nicely as we are able to assist in providing a free service to our customers that will keep their identity safe," said Andrew Brocato, Tops director of public and community relations. "We encourage our neighbors to join us in not only shredding their personal documents at our participating stores that day, but to also take time to learn more about ways they can better protect their identity in the future."
"AT&T is proud to again team up with the Better Business Bureau, Tops Friendly Markets and Shred-It to provide this important service helping to safeguard the community from the growing epidemic of identity fraud," said Marissa Shorenstein, New York president, AT&T. "As a global leader in cybersecurity, AT&T is involved with this initiative to help educate the public about proper methods to discard sensitive and financial paper documents, and to encourage the community to adopt routine safety measures to protect against cyber threats and thefts as we use more digital and mobile solutions to manage our personal information."
AT&T is actively involved in "Secure Your ID Day" again this year, providing cybersecurity tips and resources to all who attend one of the locations as part of the company's "Digital You" program. "Digital You" offers tools, tips, apps, guidance and community education events for people of all ages and levels to learn more about how to have a safe and secure online experience, and how to protect themselves from issues such as digital identity theft and sensitive records theft.
BBB offers the following tips to protect your identity:
•Check your credit reports regularly. You're allowed one free credit report per year from each of the three credit bureaus at annualcreditreport.com.
•Monitor account statements to be sure you were the source for all activity.
•Shred credit card applications and statements before throwing them away.
•Never give out personal information.
•Look for secured websites. Make sure the website has a locked pad icon and "https" in the URL.
•Protect your PINs and other passwords and change them regularly.
•Cut up credit cards before pitching them, and limit the amount of cards you carry.
•Consider opting out of pre-approved credit card offers, which can be stolen from your mailbox by identity thieves.
•Update your computer with the latest anti-virus and anti-spyware software.
Sign up for the "do not call" list at donotcall.gov.