Taking advantage of Shred-It day can help prevent identity theft

Hattie Hawks talks with the Sheriff's Office at 6am on NBC4 Today

COLUMBUS (WCMH) – Our annual NBC4 Shred It event is happening this weekend.

On Saturday, May 13, you can drop off all of your old documents to have them destroyed safely. Getting rid of that old paperwork helps reduce the chances of someone stealing your identity or making fraudulent charges on your account.

Detectives with the Franklin County Sheriff’s Office see identity theft and fraud all too often.

Ohio has seen thousands of complaints with losses in the millions of dollars. There are simple things you can do to protect yourself.

“It’s a very easy situation to fall victim to and it’s really hard to get out,” said Sgt. Bill Duffer with the Sheriff’s Office. “We have seen numerous cases in the past where folks have maybe thrown away a credit card application or thrown away some sort of billing statement and didn’t think much of it and then down the line they realize someone has gone out and purchased a car or an apartment in their name.”

Sometimes it can take months of years to realize it has happened. By then, the damage is done.

“It can really affect your credit rating and what you can buy for years to come,” said Duffer.

Luckily, protecting yourself isn’t hard.

“Save your documents in your house in safe location and use Shred-It day to get rid of them,” Duffer said.

According to the Sheriff’s office, Columbus is the number one city in Ohio for fraud complaints and number two for identity theft. There are more than 10,000 reported complaints and losses totaling more than 12 million dollars.

That’s all the more reason to Shred-It with NBC4 this weekend.

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