Document shredding helps protect your ID, credit

Free Shred Day is Oct. 6 in Anchorage

Reports of identity theft, breaches and scams have all been in the news lately. Although many of these scams are taking place online or by phone (impostor calls), identity theft can still occur by physical means. Dumpster divers go through your trash at home, work and at landfills. Unsecured mailboxes are targeted by mail thieves.

One of the ways consumers can combat identity theft is by shredding all documents that contain personal information. Don’t just toss your old credit card, bank, cell phone and insurance statements. Either purchase a home shredder or save your documents for Better Business Bureau’s annual free shred day.

This year’s event will be on Saturday, Oct. 6, 2018 at the University Center parking lot from 10 a.m. until 2 p.m. Shred Alaska will be on site, and you can watch your documents go through the shred process. Additionally, Shred Alaska will be offering hard drive destruction (hard drives must already be removed from the computer or tower).

Tips for protecting your identity:

Be sure to shred all out-of-date documents with your personal information.

Be aware that unsecured mailboxes are being targeted by thieves looking for both outgoing and incoming mail. Consider getting a locking mailbox or a P.O. box.

Regularly monitor your bank, cell phone and credit card statements for unauthorized charges.

Carry the bare minimum in your wallet – consider just one credit card and your insurance card. Never carry your Social Security or Medicare cards in your wallet.

Remove labels from prescription bottles before tossing them.

Shred all pre-authorized credit card offers.

Put the minimum printed information on your checks. Ask your bank what you need to have. Instead of your full name, just have your first initial and last name pre-printed. Scammers won’t know how to sign your name.

Protecting your personal information is a first step in avoiding identity theft. For more information, visit BBB’s website at

Michelle Tabler is the Better Business Bureau Alaska Marketplace Manager.