St. Louis, Mo., Mar. 7, 2017 – According to a study conducted by Javelin Strategy and Research, identity fraud hit a record high with 15.4 million U.S. victims in 2016, up 16 percent from 2015. Considering the rising numbers of identity theft, it is important to safeguard your personal information in as many ways as possible. Better Business Bureau’s “Shred Day” offers one easy way to safely dispose of sensitive but outdated materials.
This year’s BBB Shred Day, held in conjunction with the Consumer Fraud Task Force, is Saturday, April 15, at Saint Louis Galleria, which is at Interstate 64 and Brentwood Boulevard in Richmond Heights, Mo.
Consumers can shred documents from 9 a.m. to noon. BBB asks that consumers use bags or boxes that can be shredded along with papers. Consumers will receive information on identity theft protection. American Document Destruction is donating the shredding service.
“Shredding outdated personal documents can limit your exposure to ID theft,” said Michelle L. Corey, BBB president and CEO. “ID theft schemes are becoming more and more sophisticated, and vigilance in handling your personal information is now a priority.”
According to the Federal Trade Commission’s Consumer Sentinel Network Data Book, over 8,000 Missouri consumers filed ID theft complaints in 2016. At 136.1 complaints per 100,000 residents, Missouri ranked eighth in the nation for ID theft complaints. Illinois consumers filed over 17,000 ID theft complaints in 2016. At 138 complaints per 100, 000 residents, Illinois ranked fifth in the nation for ID theft complaints. Missouri residents filed a total of 51,342 complaints about identity theft, fraud and other issues while 91,489 complaints came from Illinois.
In 2015, the St. Louis metropolitan area ranked first nationally in complaints filed with FTC related to identity theft, but fell to fourth in 2016. This change comes after a concerted campaign by BBB to educate consumers about identity theft through public service announcements, social media postings and digital advertising.
BBB’s Scam Tracker is another great resource for researching ID Theft trends. As reported by national Scam Tracer statistics for the last year, ID theft cost consumers a total of $949,365.73 with a median loss of $200. Credit card was the top method of payment for losses. Go to BBB’s Scam Tracker to report ID theft scams or learn about scams that are trending in your area.
Officials recommend shredding documents that contain financial information, account numbers, PINs, birth dates, or Social Security numbers. Examples include expired ID cards, legal documents, credit card and bank statements and canceled checks.
In addition to shredding outdated or unneeded documents, BBB has 10 steps you can take to protect your identity:
To learn more about substandard business practices in your area, keep up-to-date with BBB’s most recent press releases:
St. Louis Area Media Contacts: Chris Thetford, Vice President-Communications, (314) 584-6743 or (314) 681-4719 (cell), email@example.com
Shellie Kreter, PR & Communications Manager, (314) 584-6723 or (314) 348-5451 (cell), firstname.lastname@example.org
Columbia media contact: Sean Spence, Columbia Regional Director, (573) 886-8965, email@example.com
Cape Girardeau media contact: Joey Keys, Cape Girardeau Regional Director, (573) 803-3191, firstname.lastname@example.org
Quincy media contact: Mara Clingingsmith, BBB Quincy Regional Director, (217) 209-3972 or (217) 242-6272 (cell), email@example.com
BBB is a nonprofit, business-supported organization that sets and upholds high standards for fair and honest business behavior. Most BBB services to consumers are free of charge. BBB provides objective advice, free BBB Business Profiles on more than 5.3 million companies, 11,000 charity reviews, dispute resolution services, alerts and educational information on topics affecting marketplace trust. Visit bbb.org for more information.