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Mid-Missouri BBB and Attorney General’s Office host shred day

Hundreds of people in Mid-Missouri are taking steps to protect themselves from identity theft.

Saturday, the Mid-Missouri Better Business Bureau along with the Missouri Attorney General’s Office hosted Shred Day to help people get rid of sensitive documents.

This comes less than two weeks after Columbia police arrested a man who reportedly stole trash outside of homes, looked through it for bank information and used it to make fake checks.

The BBB said that is another reason why it is a good idea to shred outdated sensitive documents instead of just throwing them away.

More than 220 people brought documents to BBB Shred Day. John Lever said he brought boxes of documents to shred so that he does not become a victim of identity theft.

“This is just a great opportunity to get rid of sensitive documents with dates of birth and social security numbers,” Lever said. “And in these days of identity theft it’s more and more important so this is just a super public service.”

According to the Federal Trade Commission, Missouri consumers filed nearly 40,000 complaints about identity theft, fraud and other issues last year. And Missouri is ranked fourth in the nation with identity theft complaints.

Mike Harrison with the Mid-Missouri Better Business Bureau was out helping consumers get rid of their documents at Lucky’s Market from 8 a.m. to noon with the company Shred It.

“It’s just an opportunity for consumers to stop by, shred any sensitive documents that they would have,” Harrison said. “It could be old tax returns, photo IDs, passports, bank statements, anything along those lines.”

Officials suggest you should also shred documents with pin numbers, credit card information, birth dates or financial information.

“We talk all the time about identity theft online, but there are also other opportunities for identity theft,” Harrison said. “You know, people can go through trash, they can dumpster dive things like that, sounds kind of gross but it can happen.”

You can find more from the BBB about how to protect your identity here.

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