Chicago, IL September 4, 2009 - More than 8.1 million people became victims of identity theft in the past year making it the fastest growing crime in the U.S., according to the Better Business Bureau. On September 12, the BBB in conjunction with West Suburban Bank and various government agencies are helping consumers and businesses protect themselves by hosting the 5th Annual "Shred It & Forget It" Shredder Day in Downers Grove, Ill.
Hosts of the annual event where consumers can shred documents for free are: The Better Business Bureau of Chicago and Northern Illinois and West Suburban Bank. Other agencies in attendance are the Federal Trade Commission, Illinois Attorney General's Office, United States Postal Inspectors Service, and the FBI
Shredder Day gives residents and small businesses an opportunity to dispose of their unwanted personal financial/confidential documents for free.
The event will be held Saturday, September 12, at the West Suburban Bank on 2800 Finley Road in Downers Grove, IL. . Hours for Shredder Day are 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. Six shredder trucks will be on hand to destroy all the sensitive material.
The free shredding services are being provided by BBB Accredited Businesses: Beaver Shredding, Acme Document Destruction, Cintas Document Management, Recall Secure Document Services and Docu-Shred.
Residents are asked to limit the material they want shredded to 10 boxes of documents. There will be a FREE home shredder given away every 30 minutes.
Representatives from the participating organizations will be on hand at "Shred It & Forget It" to offer guidelines for shredding documents, and answer questions about how to keep your personal information safe.
Here are some suggestions for deciding how long to keep personal financial information:
ü The IRS has three years from your tax-filing date to audit, and has six years to challenge a claim. A good rule of thumb is to keep all tax returns and supporting documentation for seven years.
ü Keep credit card statements for seven years if tax related expenses are documented.
ü Keep paycheck stubs for one year. Be sure to cross reference the paycheck stub to the W-2 form.
ü Be sure to keep bank statements and cancelled checks for at least one year.
ü Bills should kept for one year or until the cancelled check has been returned. Receipts for large ticket items should be kept for insurance purposes.
ü Home improvement receipts should be kept for six years or permanently.
ü Items such as birth certificates, social security cards, insurance policies, titles or wills should be kept permanently in a safety deposit box.
ü If you are going to dispose of documents with sensitive information, be sure to SHRED!
More information can be found on www.chicagoshreds.com and consumers can sign up to be placed on a list so they can be informed of future events.