'Shred it day' curbs identity theft

Keeping personal information safe
Community shred it day
Shred it day - 6:15

INDIANAPOLIS (WTHR) — One in ten Hoosiers will be a victim of identity theft and women are more likely to be victims, according to a IUPUI research project.

The report finds women are especially at risk.

As the season changes, we often find ourselves in our attics or basements – somewhere where there is inevitably a building pile of saved items and more often than not, that includes documents with sensitive information.

Many of us save items much longer than needed, thinking we’ll have it when – and if – we ever need it, which begs the question, how long should we hang on to that stuff?

In general, you should save tax returns and associated documents for three years, or seven years if your tax returns are more complex or involve worthless securities or bad debt deduction, according to the IRS.

Bank and credit statements can generally be tossed within a year, unless they bear significance for your tax returns, at which point they should be saved for seven years, according to the FDIC.

Receipts along with deposit or ATM tickets can usually be shredded after the transaction has posted to your account.

It is a good idea, however, to save receipts for large purchases or for products that may need proof of purchase for any potential future warranty claims.

How you get rid of these documents is key. Simply putting them in the trash or recycling can lead a thief to steal from you without ever trying to make it into your home.

Identity theft is one of the fastest-growing crimes in America and it can cost you thousands of dollars.

"It can take over your life when you have to redo your identity. Sometimes the government has to issue a new social security number if it gets that bad. You literally have to call every single credit card, you have to monitor your credit every single month, if not bi-monthly and all this takes your time and everybody's time is worth something," said Steven DuBois with Crime Stoppers of Central Indiana.

That’s why Crime Stopperspartners with AARP of Indiana and WTHR to hold two Community Shred It Days each year. It’s a quick and easy way to have everything shredded.

"I know there is a lot of focus on the high-tech data breaches where people have lost their information, but it is the low-tech things like trying to recycle it that somebody can get into that recycling bin and take that information and use it to steal your identity," said Jason Tomcsi with AARP of Indiana.

You can also bring your old electronics – including computers – to any Shred It location.

"They take all of the hard drives out of the computer and they shred them -- they don't recycle them, they don't clean them off and send them somewhere to use, they are shredded. There's no way that information is going to get out. Old phones and things that have data on it -- tablets, computer, they need to be shred it," said Steven DuBois with Crime Stoppers of Central Indiana.

The fall shred it day will be held Saturday, October 21 from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. at five locations:

  • WTHR – 1000 North Meridian Street, Indianapolis
  • Creekside Middle School – 3525 West 126th Street, Carmel
  • Greenwood Park Mall – 1251 U. S. 31 North, Greenwood
  • Speedway Police Department – 1410 North Lynhurst Drive, Greenwood
  • Lawrence Police Department – 9001 East 59th Street, Indianapolis

A $5 donation is requested for shredding and $10 for each TV or monitor. For more information visit www.crimetips.org.

If you suspect you have become a victim of identity theft, you may file an identity theft claim through the Indiana Office of the Attorney General by clicking here.