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Shred-It aims to reduce ID theft
Avoid becoming one of 298 annual victims in Manteca
SHRED IT5 4-21-14
City workers carry boxes of documents to be shredded during a previous Shred-It event. - photo by Bulletin file photo

Identify theft claimed 298 victims in Manteca during 2014.

Come this Saturday, April 25, you have a chance to reduce your exposure to having your identity stolen during the free City of Manteca Shred-It event.

City residents between 8:30 a.m. and 12:30 p.m. can drop off bags or boxes of documents that will be shredded on site at the city’s solid waste division parking lot, 210 E. Wetmore St. Manteca Police will provide security.

Criminals have been known to rifle through Toters in search of discarded credit card offers, bills, and even address labels on magazines looking for various parts of the puzzle needed to steal an identity. Last year, police indicated a big garbage bag of such material would fetch those who retrieved them from Toters around Manteca $25 per bag from ID thieves trolling for personal information.

The Bureau of Justice Statistics noted in 2012 some 16.6 million United States citizens were the victims of at least one type of ID fraud. The bulk is someone using an existing personal bank and credit card accounts.

The average victim was slammed with $9,650 in losses while the median loss in 2012 was $1,900. The bulk of the losses are usually borne by banks and credit card companies although there is nearly a one in five chance if you are a victim of ID theft you will lose money out of your own pocket. Half of those victims lose $100 or less, 18 percent lose between $100 and $249 and 16 percent are out $1,000 or more. The losses of corporation and banks are passed on to consumers as part of the cost of doing business.

The bottom line is America lost $24.7 billion in indirect and direct losses from ID theft in 2012 compared to $14 billion in the same time frame from all other vehicle and property theft combined

And while Police Chief Nick Obligacion urges citizens to take advantage of the free shredding to protect themselves against ID theft, he noted that is only a small part of what you need to do to protect yourself against ID theft.

“It (stealing discarded information) is just one aspect of ID theft,” the chief said.

Steps Obligacion suggested that people take include:

uObtaining a credit card with a low limit for exclusive use while buying on the Internet. It is smarter to use a credit card with a $300 limit than to use a card that you may have a $12,000 limit on given the increased level of hacking of computers.

uIf your bank offers it, obtain apps or phone programs that allow you to deactivate your debit or credit card when you are not using it and reactivating when you are.

uAlways put your hand over your fingers entering ATM access umbers as micro-cameras reading swipes and key punches that criminals attach to card readers are becoming smaller and harder to detect.

uWhen discarding old computers, shred the hard drive. A growing number of tech thieves are retrieving old computers and digging into hard drives that owners thought they had wiped information clean from before dropping them off to be recycled.

uNever give credit card and other personal information over the phone unless you initiated the call.

uThe Internal Revenue Service doesn’t call taxpayers demanding payment, they send letters. Obligacion said the tax scam is still one of the most prevalent vehicles being used to steal money.