KENNEWICK, WA - The threat of identity theft is something that anyone can fall victim to, and old papers could be your biggest enemy by not shredding them. With the 2019 Shred Day coming up, the first step to being prepared is knowing what you should bring to be shredded.
For Numerica branch manager Leo Martinez Jr., he has dealt with many people in identity theft situations. He said many are from people just not getting rid of their old documents.
"Identity theft is on the rise... I think the simplest thing you can do with that is making sure you're shredding those documents," Martinez Jr. said.
According to a Life Lock study, there were 16.7 million victims of identity fraud in 2017 alone. Martinez Jr. said by shredding a simple document, that can save you.
"The simple act of just ripping up paper in half and throwing it away if somebody was really looking to get your information its very simple for them to get that information even out of your garbage can," Martinez Jr.
Holding on to documents after a year puts you more at risk.
"We recommend you keep them for 3 months, 6 months, a year depending on the document... but after that making sure you dispose of it and get them shredded correctly so you don't run the risk of those getting in the wrong hands," Martinez Jr.
Making sure to shred everything from old bills, pay stubs, to even credit card offers in the mail.
"If some of those companies don't have some security features or some steps in place to make sure that the person that's applying for said loan or credit card is the person that's doing it, you can go from beginning to end and open a credit card online fairly quickly," Martinez Jr said.
He also says by shredding those documents early and frequently, that can help you prevent identity theft in the long run.
"The biggest misconception many people have is thinking that their files are safe at home, but it's just as easy for thieves to get into your home to steal those documents as it is out of your trashcan." Martinez Jr said.
Tri-Cities' Shred Day will be hosted at Numerica Credit Union Hildebrand Boulevard in Kennewick on April 19th from 6 a.m. to 6 p.m.