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Attorney General's News Release

April 14, 2010

Attorney General Koster urges consumers to fight ID theft; shred documents at annual Shred Day

 St. Louis, Mo. - Attorney General Chris Koster said today St. Louis-area residents will have an opportunity to fight identity theft by shredding their unneeded confidential documents free of charge this Saturday, April 17. Koster said consumers can participate in the annual Shred Day at the St. Louis Galleria between 8 a.m. and noon at the southeast corner of the parking lot.

Koster said his office is sponsoring the event, along with the Better Business Bureau, the Federal Trade Commission, and the U.S. Postal Inspection Service. A mobile shred truck donated by Shred-It, a document security company, is donating the shredding service. Consumers and businesses are invited to bring up to three boxes of confidential documents, such as check stubs, bank statements, and credit card offers to be shredded for free on site.

"Identity thieves often rummage through trash cans looking for old receipts and bank statements to get personal information," Koster said. "Shredding confidential, unneeded documents is one of the best ways consumers can protect themselves."

Koster offered additional tips to prevent identity theft:

  • Don't give out your Social Security or account numbers unless you initiate the contact.
  • Leave your Social Security number off checks and driver's license.
  • Send sensitive mail using a Post Office drop box, rather than your mailbox at home.
  • Carry only the credit cards and documents you need on a daily basis. Don't carry your Social Security card.
  • Opt out of pre-approved credit card offers and get fewer solicitations at home: www.optoutprescreen.com or 888-567-8688.
  • Use virus protection, a firewall and spyware detection on your computer.
  • Freeze your credit report with the three credit bureaus, Trans Union, Experian and Equifax. You can find instructions at www.ago.mo.gov.

Koster urges consumers to watch out for identity theft by checking monthly bank statements, credit card statements, and their credit report, which they can do for free once a year at www.annualcreditreport.com or 877-322-8228.

Koster said consumers can call his ID Theft Hotline at 1-800-392-8222 or go to the Attorney General's website at www.ago.mo.gov to report being a victim or to get further information.



 
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