Senator says it helps prevent identity theft
By Paula Katinas
Brooklyn Daily Eagle
Spring cleaning doesn’t just mean washing the windows and painting the living room. It can also mean opening that desk drawer, sorting through that mountain-high pile of old papers inside and throwing them out.
To help you in your effort to get a fresh start this spring, state Sen. Martin Golden (R-C-Bay Ridge-southern Brooklyn) is hosting simultaneous shredding events on Saturday, April 26, at his two district offices, 7408 Fifth Ave. and 3604 Quentin Road, from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m.
The event is free and Golden is encouraging his constituents to bring as many personal documents as they wish to shred.
“We all have a pile of papers in our house that we hope to one day get a chance to shred. This is a great opportunity to stop by my office and get rid of those forms, bank statements, receipts and more in a safe way. Shred those papers so to make sure you have taken every precaution against the crime of identity theft,” Golden said.
This will be the second time Golden has sponsored a free document shredding event. At the previous event, local residents showed up with armfuls of old bills, tax returns, and other paperwork which they fed into the shredders.
“One woman came in with old papers belonging to her parents. They had passed away and she cleaned out their house,” an aide to Golden told the Brooklyn Eagle.
New York is coming down with shredding fever, it would seem.
The New York City Department of Consumer Affairs (DOC) will sponsor a “Shred Fest” on Sunday, May 18, starting at 10 a.m. The locations have not yet been announced.
This past December, the Times Square Alliance sponsored “Good Riddance Day,” placing shredders in the middle of Times Square and inviting New Yorkers to shred away the past so that they could go into 2014 feeling refreshed. The New York Daily News reported that at least 100 people lined up to shred photos of cheating ex-boyfriends, old diaries and medical reports in an effort to break from the past.
Shredding old documents is a useful way to reduce the chances of becoming a victim of identity theft, according to the DOC.
Experts said it’s not a good idea to toss old documents in the trash without shredding them first. That’s because thieves have been known to search through trash cans looking for papers containing personal information.
Golden, who said that over nine million Americans are the victims of identity theft each year, added that it’s the fastest growing crime in the country. It’s also the most reported consumer fraud complaint.
Golden has published “Brooklyn Consumer Protection Alert” a pamphlet that provides useful information to how to prevent identity theft.
There are things that can be done legislatively to help consumers protect themselves against fraud, according to Godden, who recently introduced a bill that would require credit card companies to issue New York State residents credit cards enabled with smart chip technology, which are harder for thieves to penetrate than the cards containing the magnetic strip that are currently in use
Another bill sponsored by Golden which would increase the criminal penalties against suspects convicted of identity theft.
The Federal Trade Commission reported in 2013 that its top complaint was identity theft with over 21,500 New Yorkers filing identity theft complaints. In 2012, almost 3,000 New Yorkers shredded more than 58 tons of paper containing personal information at Shred Fest.
The Federal Trade Commission’s website contains a list of helpful hints on how to avoid becoming a victim of identity theft. The suggestions include: keeping our passwords private and avoid over sharing your personal information on social networking sites.
For more information on Golden's free shredding event, or to request a copy of the pamphlet, call his office at 718-238-6044 or email [email protected].