Free shredding service aims to foil identity thieves who prey on elderly

Jun 29 2012 - 8:10pm

Images

Mindy Wilkins dumps documents into a bin to be shredded at a public paper shredding event at North Davis Senior Activity Center in Clearfield on Friday.  NICHOLAS DRANEY/Standard-Examiner
Jimmy Lozano works the controls to dump a bin of paperwork into a shredder at a public document shredding event at North Davis Senior Activity Center in Clearfield on Friday.  NICHOLAS DRANEY/Standard-Examiner
Don Greathouse carries a box of paperwork to a public paper shredding event at North Davis Senior Activity Center in Clearfield on Friday.  NICHOLAS DRANEY/Standard-Examiner
Bud Deryke watches as Jimmy Lozano dumps a box full of papers into a bin to be shredded at a public paper shredding event at North Davis Senior Activity Center in Clearfield on Friday.  NICHOLAS DRANEY/Standard-Examiner
Mindy Wilkins dumps documents into a bin to be shredded at a public paper shredding event at North Davis Senior Activity Center in Clearfield on Friday.  NICHOLAS DRANEY/Standard-Examiner
Jimmy Lozano works the controls to dump a bin of paperwork into a shredder at a public document shredding event at North Davis Senior Activity Center in Clearfield on Friday.  NICHOLAS DRANEY/Standard-Examiner
Don Greathouse carries a box of paperwork to a public paper shredding event at North Davis Senior Activity Center in Clearfield on Friday.  NICHOLAS DRANEY/Standard-Examiner
Bud Deryke watches as Jimmy Lozano dumps a box full of papers into a bin to be shredded at a public paper shredding event at North Davis Senior Activity Center in Clearfield on Friday.  NICHOLAS DRANEY/Standard-Examiner

CLEARFIELD -- Davis County residents looking to safely dispose of their confidential information brought carloads of paperwork Friday to the North Davis Senior Activity Center.

The free bulk shredding event was co-sponsored by the Utah State Health Insurance Assistance Program, the Senior Medicare Patrol, and Davis County Health Department's Senior Services.

"We want people to realize that there is more than $60 billion in Medicare fraud annually," said Linda Freer, Davis County Health Department's Senior Medicare Patrol coordinator.

She said the event was intended to help prevent all types of fraud caused by compromised personal information. The service was offered to anyone in the community, regardless of age.

"Everybody wants to shred, so we made it community-wide," Freer said.

The event attracted a steady stream of people throughout the four hours the event was held.

Bud DeRyke, 68, a retired Clearfield police officer, said he brought between 100 and 150 pounds of documents to shred.

"We've had some concern with two relatives that have been scammed so badly," he said. "There's not a place hot enough for those people who scam older people.

"It really irks me and I don't want it to happen to me."

Freer also mentioned a gentleman who brought in 40 years of documents to shred. The paperwork filled two large garbage cans and was shredded in a matter of seconds.

Larry Sanders, 57, said he owns a real estate business and tries to take advantage of free shredding events every year. He brought a box of old receipts to safely destroy.

"It gives me added security, and helps me sleep better at night. It's a great service," Sanders said.

Jimmy Lozano, a driver and shredder for Shred Masters, said his company is contracted with the state of Utah to provide shredding services at senior centers. He said he has driven his shredding truck as far south as St. George to provide communities with this service.

The Davis County Health Department provided patrons with a list indicating which documents they should keep, and when certain documents should be disposed of for security reasons.

The list specified that documents to shred immediately include credit card applications, expired credit cards, bank cards, and passports.

It was also recommended to shred anything that includes addresses, account numbers, birth dates, budgets, driver's license numbers, medical information, passwords, or Social Security numbers.

Monthly shredding recommendations include credit or debit card receipts, as well as any cancelled checks that have been reconciled with statements. The exception to this would be documents needed for tax purposes.

Yearly shredding should include monthly retirement and investment statements, monthly bank statements, pay stubs, and repeating bills. All of these should be reconciled with year-end statements before being shredded.

The County also recommended shredding year-end bank statements on a seven- to 10-year basis, as well as titles, deeds, and surveys to cars and property that haven't been owned in seven years.

This is the third time a free shredding event has been offered at one of Davis County's senior centers.

Freer said she hopes to begin offering them on a semi-annual basis. The next shredding event is scheduled for September.

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