Identity theft is a growing problem nationwide, and Nebraska is no exception. Nearly 1100 cases were reported in the state last year, but the actual number is probably many times greater. Identity theft is crippling to its victims, while recovery can be a long and frustrating process.
An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure when it comes to fighting this crime. People can avoid identity theft if they take the time to shred their old documents, such as old bank and financial statements and medical bills, said Reba Benschoter, volunteer assistant coordinator of the AARP Nebraska Information Center.
Coming back by popular demand for the fifth year, AARP Nebraska’s Create The Good and Shred-It will host a free community shredding event in Omaha on Saturday, May 15 at The Center Mall, 1941 South 42nd St.
The drive-through shredding session will run from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. at the east end of the top level of The Center Mall’s parking lot. People should enter the parking lot at 41st & Center Sts. State-of-the-art mobile shredders will be set up on site, where participants can watch their papers being destroyed. Unloading assistance will be provided. For more information, call (402) 398-9568.
“We’re pleased to continue offering this valuable service to the public,” Benschoter said “We strongly encourage everyone to shred their unnecessary personal documents to safeguard their personal information.”
The upcoming event gives consumers an opportunity to have their confidential documents destroyed free of charge by trained Shred-It staff, said Scott Rima, district customer service and operations manager of Shred-It, a document destruction company with more than 140 branches on five continents.
“Consumer fraud and identity theft are becoming an epidemic in our communities,” he said. “To increase awareness and promote prevention, we organize community shred events in the cities where we have a presence. People can have peace of mind knowing that their documents have been shredded beyond recognition.”
AARP Nebraska’s Create The Good will offer shredding events in other locations around the state in coming months. Visit www.aarp.org/ne or call 1-866-389-5651 for details.
To report identity theft, call your local police department, the Nebraska Attorney General’s Consumer Protection Division at 1-800-727-6432 or the Federal Trade Commission’s toll-free ID Theft Hotline at 1-877-438-4338. Visit online for more information about dealing with the consequences of identity theft.