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BBB's 'Secure Your ID Day' coming soon; free paper shredding & identity theft prevention advice and tools

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Fri, Sep 29th 2017 08:30 pm
Identity theft is still a major problem in the U.S. Over 15 million U.S. consumers lost $16 billion in 2016, compared with $15.3 billion and 13.1 million victims a year earlier. In the past six years, ID thieves have stolen over $107 billion.
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, AT&T, Greater Baldwinsville Chamber of Commerce, Cheektowaga Chamber of Commerce and West Seneca Chamber of Commerce, will host "Secure Your ID Day" from 9 a.m. to noon Saturday, Oct. 7, across upstate New York (Western New York, Rochester and Central New York). 
The free community shredding events in Western New York will be held at Tops Friendly Markets at 355 Orchard Park Road, West Seneca, and 3865 Union Road (corner of George Urban Blvd.), Cheektowaga (in the parking lots).
Community members are welcome to bring up to three boxes or bags of documents for free on-site shredding. Volunteers from the partnering organizations will be on hand to assist and distribute safety tips.
Better Business Bureau of Upstate New York says the best lines of defense are secure paper shredding, education and routine safety measures to protect digital information. Data breaches and other cyber security incidents continue dominating the news, so people may not think about the importance of shredding old sensitive or secure documents. Once an identity thief gets a hold of one's information, they have it, regardless of how they got it.
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 entitled to a free credit report a year 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.

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