You can shred a thief’s chances of stealing your personal information on the upcoming Secure Your ID Day in Wichita Falls.

Fend off identity theft and guard against fraud by shredding documents for free from 9 a.m. to noon April 21 at 2107 Kemp Blvd. during the event hosted by the Better Business Bureau Serving North Central Texas at its office.

Sponsored by Paper Pig Shredding, the event allows participants to bring up to three boxes and bags of paper documents – as long as they can carry them.

Shredders will destroy documents – right on the spot.

The BBB reminds Wichitans that the first rule of identity protection is to destroy what you don’t need – responsibly.

The Federal Trade Commission suggests immediately shredding credit card or utility bills after paying them.

The same goes for sales receipts – unless they’re important for warranties, insurance or tax records.

Consumers can generally destroy other documents after a year: bank statements, pay stubs – after checking them against your W-2 – and medical bills not related to any unresolved insurance dispute.

Pack rat thinking – maybe I should go ahead and keep it all in case someday I need it – could get you in trouble, according to the FTC.

After all, identity thieves can’t prey on you with documents you’ve already shredded.

So getting rid of paper trails to your personal information makes it less likely you’ll fall victim to identity theft, according to the FTC.

What is identity theft?

It is unauthorized use or attempted use of an existing account or of personal information to open a new account, according to the Bureau of Justice Statistics. In addition, it is misusing personal information for fraud.

And it’s becoming more common.

In 2017, thieves stole $16.8 billion from 16.7 million Americans, according to the “2018 Identity Fraud Study” released in February this year.

The number of people ripped off by identity fraudsters rose 8 percent, according to the study from Javelin Strategy & Research. That’s a record high since the firm began tracking the crime in 2003.  

The annual 2018 Identity Fraud Study is a comprehensive analysis of identity fraud trends, surveying 5,000 U.S. consumers online.

The study is independently produced by Javelin Strategy & Research and sponsored by LifeLock, Inc., which provides consumers with identity theft protection.

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