CHICAGO, IL – September 7, 2011 - On Saturday, September 17, the Better Business Bureau serving Chicago and northern Illinois, in conjunction with various government agencies, invites consumers and businesses to protect their identities by shredding unwanted personal, financial or confidential documents for FREE at the annual "Shred It and Forget It" Shredder Day at West Suburban Bank, 8001 S. Cass Avenue, in Darien, IL from 9AM-2PM. Electronics recycling also will be available.
Crime statistics show that last year alone, more than 9.9 million Americans were victims of identity theft, costing them roughly $5 billion.
Hosts of the annual event include the Better Business Bureau along with West Suburban Bank, the Federal Bureau of Investigations, Federal Trade Commission, Illinois Attorney General's Office, United States Postal Inspection Service and NBC 5 Chicago.
This year an electronics recycling service is provided by Vintage Tech Recyclers. TVs, monitors, laptops, PCs, servers, data storage devices, printers, fax/copy machines, cell phones, VCRs, DVD players, video cameras and game consoles are among the types of electronic equipment that will be collected for recycling at the event. To learn more about the electronics you can recycle at this event, visit www.chicagoshreds.com
Paper shredding services are being provided by: Beaver Shredding Inc., Chicago Shred Authority, Docu-Shred, Inc., Proshred and Shred-It, Inc.
Participants are asked to limit the material they want shredded to 10 boxes of documents per vehicle. There will also be some free home shredders given away during the event.
Representatives from the participating organizations will be available at "Shred It and Forget It" to offer guidelines for shredding documents and to answer questions about how to keep your personal information safe.
Here are some suggestions for deciding how long to keep personal financial information:
· A good rule of thumb is to keep all tax returns and supporting documentation for seven years. The IRS has three years from your tax-filing date to audit, and has six years to challenge a claim.
· Keep credit card statements for seven years if tax related expenses are documented.
· Keep paycheck stubs for one year. Be sure to cross reference the paycheck stub to the W-2 form.
· Be sure to keep bank statements and cancelled checks for at least one year.
· Bills should be kept for one year or until the cancelled check has been returned. Receipts for large ticket items should be kept for insurance purposes.
· Home improvement receipts should be kept for six years or permanently.
· Items such as birth certificates, social security cards, insurance policies, titles or wills should be kept permanently in a safety deposit box.
· If you are going to dispose of documents with sensitive information, be sure to SHRED!
More information about the "Shred It and Forget It" Shredder Day event can be found at www.chicagoshreds.com; once there, consumers may also sign up for notification on future Shred Day events.
For more information on how to protect your identity, visit www.bbb.org