The Better Business Bureau is offering you a great opportunity to shred the schemes of identity thieves in Metro-Detroit. Since the tax season has ended, it's the perfect time to review old documents in your home, and get rid of the personal information that identity thieves are dying to get their hands on.
It's also a good time to think about getting rid of old computers and phones in a way that's secure and better for the environment.
The Better Business Bureau Serving Eastern Michigan is holding it's semi-annual "Shred Your ID Day" on Saturday, April 10th. It runs from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. at the agency's office in Southfield.
The Better Business Bureau is working with Cintas to provide shredders for personal information that should be destroyed. Fraud experts says it’s a good time to destroy things like credit card statements, utility bills, ATM receipts and pay stubs.
You should hold onto tax returns for at least seven years. Other documents you should save include: marriage license, lawsuit documents, immigration papers, and mortgage paperwork.
Identity Theft Risks
"Scam artists will go pick through your garbage," said, Melanie Duquesnel, CEO of the local Better Business Bureau. She says that's why you should find safe and secure ways to destroy that information, especially anything that contains your social security number.
"That social security number is actually a pretty magical number because it tells people exactly where you were born, when you were born, it's basically your ID for life," said Duquesnel.
If your personal information does fall into the wrong hands, identity thieves can do a a lot of damage.
"It's all about cash. It's about lining their pickets with your cash, the better you can protect it, the better off you'll be," said Duquesnel.
Wipe Clean & Recycle
The Better Business Bureau is also teaming up with GEEP Michigan (Global Electric Electronic Processing) to recycle old computers and cell phones. The devices need to be wiped clean to protect the personal information that has accumulated on their hard drives.
"Phones and hard drives contain... sensitive, data or sensitive documents. If that falls into the wrong hands that can be recovered," said Neil Balazsi, a buyer for GEEP.
He says his company erases hard drives using standards set by the Department of Defense. The rest of the device is either repurposed, with permission from the owners, or recycled, which is better for the environment.
Balazsi took Ruth to the Rescue on a tour of the company's warehouse to show the potential environmental damage. "Each one of these CRT monitors contains 4 to 6 pounds of leaded glass, which if its infiltrates a landfill, it can be leeched into the ground water," he said referring to some old computer screens.
"Secure Your ID Day" will be held Saturday, April 10th at the BBB's Southfield office. The address is 26777 Central Park Blvd; Southfield, MI 48076
* FREE Community Shred and Computer/Electronics Recycling event