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When in Doubt, Shred it: Tips for Avoiding Identity Theft

Shredding outdated documents is the best way to ensure scammers can't use sensitive information on them. (stux/Pixabay)
Shredding outdated documents is the best way to ensure scammers can't use sensitive information on them. (stux/Pixabay)
April 25, 2017

PIERRE, S.D. – This week is Money Smart Week, and AARP wants South Dakotans to be aware of ways they can protect their money from scammers and identity thieves. Across the nation, identity theft is so prevalent that someone has his or her identity stolen every two seconds.

That's why AARP South Dakota's director of community outreach, Lindsey Holmquest, says when it comes to outdated documents with sensitive information on them, it's best to shred them. Her organization is helping Rushmore State residents do just that this week.

"When in doubt, shredding is the best option, and we work with a couple of great companies across the state who actually don't just protect us by shredding these documents, but also recycle them into useful products," she explained.

There are two shred events this week that are open to the public and will run from 11 A.M. to 2 P.M. The first is in Pierre on Wednesday and the second is in Rapid City on Thursday.

AARP South Dakota has shredded about 5,000 pounds of documents at similar events this year.

Holmquest says if a deal sounds too good to be true, then it probably is, and that people should never provide their information over the phone, through email or on websites they are unsure of. She says she's heard plenty of stories from people who have been ripped off.

"Fortunately, when people do share those stories and talk about what has happened to them, we can work with state departments, we can share that information with folks so they know what's out there," she added. "They can avoid those scams, and they can see on our interactive map on our website who's getting those calls or getting those requests from potential scammers and they can avoid those."

Holmquest says anyone who feels they've been scammed should contact the office of the South Dakota Attorney General or go to AARP's Fraud Watch Network website to find out how to report and recoup stolen money.

Eric Tegethoff, Public News Service - SD