Protecting your identity from theft is something you should aim to accomplish every day of the year. After all, if a thief is able to commit fraud using your name or Social Security number, it could potentially result in damage to your credit report and credit score, and cost you a lot of money over many years.
However, millions of Americans go about their day-to-day activities without thinking twice about identity theft or the repercussions associated with fraud. In an effort to help turn the tide on identity theft awareness, the Better Business Bureau (BBB) is hosting Secure Your ID Day at BBB locations across the country.
Some locations will offer free use of a shedder
At each BBB participating in the event, a series of paper shredders will be set up so that members of the public can bring their sensitive documents and have them destroyed before an identity thief is able to get a hold of them.
Anything that could be fodder for theft should be destroyed
Files that you should bring if you decide to take part in this event include any papers that have personal identification information on them. This info includes your full name, date of birth, Social Security number, bank or credit card numbers, your mailing address and any passwords or PIN numbers. Documents like old bank or credit statements, cable or telephone bills and receipts from online shopping are just a few of the files that a thief could use to steal your identity and potentially open up new accounts in your name.
Simply throwing files into the trash is only one step in the process
If you throw your paperwork into the trash without first destroying it, you could be potentially making yourself even more vulnerable to identity theft. Many criminals will dive into dumpsters or dig through your trash in the hopes of finding these documents, which is why you need to be sure that these papers are shredded.
This service is available free from the BBB, and it's just one way to help deter identity thieves. You should also implement changes in your daily life that can help you lower your risk for fraud. Enrolling in an identity monitoring program can help you stay alert you to certain activity taking place in your name. If you notice signs that may indicate the work of an identity thief, you can take steps to stop the fraud before it goes any farther.