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Shred It, Forget It: Free Events to Protect Your Identity

This Saturday, AARP Tennessee is offering free document-shredding events across the state. (AARP Tenn.)
This Saturday, AARP Tennessee is offering free document-shredding events across the state. (AARP Tenn.)
November 17, 2016

NASHVILLE, Tenn. – This Saturday Tennesseans from across the state will have the chance to check a big task off of their list of things to do.

AARP Tennessee is sponsoring free document-shredding events across the state during which anyone can bring in boxes of unwanted papers to dispose of them properly.

Experts say that properly disposing of personal paperwork, versus just throwing it in the trash, can help protect you from identity theft.

"Most of us have boxes and boxes of stuff that's just too much to shred with those little home shredders,” says David Morrow, Tennessee state leader for AARP Fraud Watch Network. “And so, we offer these shredding events several times a year, bring in a professional company that does shredding for medical records and businesses and things like that, at no cost to anybody."

Shredding events will take place in Nashville, Murfreesboro, Clarksville, Chattanooga, Knoxville and Memphis.

Items that are good ideas to shred include expired licenses, credit card bills, bank statements, old legal documents, voided checks, ATM receipts, pre-approved credit card applications and any paper with your Social Security number on it.

According to the latest research from Javelin Strategy and Research, $15 billion was stolen from 13 million American consumers through identity theft last year.

Morrow says shredding your documents eliminates one easy way criminals access your information.

"Fraudsters use documents like this as shortcuts to get information on you so that they can steal your identity, so that they can get money from your bank accounts,” he points out. “These documents have the clues to who you are and what you do."

In addition to properly disposing of printed materials, experts urge you to change your online passwords regularly and be cautious of using public Wi-Fi networks to log into your bank or credit card accounts.

Stephanie Carson/Scott Herron, Public News Service - TN