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Learn to protect your identity on ‘Shred Day’

'Live' From City Hall

Posted: July 20, 2008 1:31 a.m.
Updated: September 20, 2008 5:02 a.m.
 
The threat of identity theft looms over everyone. The issue of having someone steal your personal information and use it as his or her own receives much attention.

In spite of all the warnings and measures in place to protect individuals, there is no foolproof way to avoid identity theft. Unfortunately, not all solicitations and scams are transparent, so it is important to be well-educated about how to protect yourself.

This month the city of Santa Clarita, along with the Sheriff’s Department, is promoting Identity Theft and Senior Safety Awareness Month as a part of the year-long Public Safety Awareness campaign.

Speakers, programs and public service announcements will help promote ways to avoid identity theft and what to do if you suspect your identity might be stolen.

A highlight of this public safety campaign is Community Shred Day, which will be held on Saturday from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. in the Santa Clarita Valley Sheriff’s Station parking lot, located at the corner of Valencia Boulevard and Magic Mountain Parkway.

This event allows residents to bring out all of their sensitive papers including, but not limited to: pre-approved credit applications, financial information, papers containing account numbers and other personal information, credit card receipts, old checks and past tax returns. All documents and papers will be shredded in front of you, but you must drive up, and not walk in, with materials to be shredded.

Santa Clarita residents are permitted to bring up to five boxes of papers to this event. Those attending can also bring electronics to dump, such as old computers, iPods, televisions, other large appliances and even batteries and light bulbs.

For a complete list of what will be accepted, visit SCVSheriff.com and click on “Shred Day.”

By shredding anything with your identifiers, you are ultimately protecting yourself from “dumpster diving,” which occurs when thieves rummage through trash and collect important account numbers, credit card offers and papers with personal identifiers, which they can later use to steal identities.

Also, be careful at ATMs and when using phone cards because there are identity thieves out there called “shoulder surfers.” They stand behind people and peer over their shoulders to view card and PIN numbers, and with those numbers gain access to their victims’ accounts.

Remember to request a respectable distance between you and the person behind you when using an ATM.

Mail theft is also a common source of identity theft. To stay safe, do not put checks in the mail from your home mailbox. When you order new credit cards in the mail, or your previous ones have expired, watch the calendar to make sure that you get the card within the appropriate time.

Frank Ferry is a Santa Clarita City Council member. His column reflects his own views, not necessarily those of The Signal. “'Live' from City Hall” is a column provided to The Signal by the city of Santa Clarita.

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