Home-grown identity thieves — those that don’t sit behind computers thousands of miles away to steal personal information — use fairly low tech sources to rip off victims.
Among the low tech sources are recycling and garbage carts set at curbside or in alleys for weekly solid waste collections. Another is the theft of mail from cluster boxes before people get a chance to retrieve it.
Manteca Police detectives note that thieves seeking money or drugs will sell plastic bags of mail stolen from cluster postal boxes and personal information tossed into recycling carts to ID thieves.
The theft of personal information is a major problem in Manteca. The three largest ID theft cases in the past two years in Manteca involve more than 1,000 victims.
To help residents reduce the chances of becoming ID theft victim, the Manteca solid waste division is staging a free Shred It event to dispose of record and documents this Saturday, April 22, from 8 a.m. until noon at the corporation yard at 210 East Wetmore Street off of South Main Street.
Information that can be valuable to ID thieves such as cancelled checks, old credit card statements, previous tax filings you no longer need to keep, and essentially any documents with personal information on it criminals can use to steal your identity can be shredded.
The city will not accept things such as old magazines. What some law enforcement officers will do is rip the corner with a mailing label on it off and shred that while tossing the rest of the magazine into the blue recycling cart.
Detectives note that someone using just your name and address can use that information to start stealing your identification. It is progressively easier, though, if they get your name and an account number they can match with it such as a discarded credit card statement or even a monthly mortgage statement.
Personal information can be dropped off in plastic bags or boxes.
City workers will take the items from your vehicle directly to Shred It trucks that will shred everything on site. Manteca Police is providing security.
The corporation collection site also will accept electronic waste for recycling. That includes computers, monitors, printers, televisions, and such.
Police have noted that the average cost of identity theft out of a consumer’s pocket can run about $1,500. The balance —which can run into the tens of thousands of dollars — is absorbed by businesses and banks that are defrauded and passed on to consumers in the form of higher prices.
It also can take six months or longer to try and repair your credit requiring countless hours of your time.
The free Shred It event is for city residents and city businesses. The cost is covered from monthly solid waste collection charges.
Manteca has been offering its residents the free Shred It program for 15 years. It is one of the few cities that offer such a service on an ongoing basis.
To contact Dennis Wyatt, email firstname.lastname@example.org