Individuals with personal documents needing to be shredded have an opportunity, thanks to Eternal Valley Memorial Park. On Saturday, July 22 they can bring up to four boxes of papers to the local mortuary for a free shredding service.
Whether paperwork has been sitting in storage or uncovered after the death of a loved one, it needs to be destroyed in order to avoid identity theft. There are more than 17 million victims of identity theft each year, says the U.S. Dept. of Justice. Eternal Valley staff members are reaching out to the community by enabling them to properly dispose of personal, confidential documents that might provide an opportunity for criminal use.
“We’ve seen the turmoil and emotional stress that identity theft brings victims of all ages,” said Curtis Woods, general manager of Eternal Valley Memorial Park. “Community Shred Day is designed to help our community members protect themselves, and we are honored to host this event once again, and to work with local businesses to enhance the safety and security of our neighbors.”
On “Community Shred Day,” individuals may bring up to four boxes of paper documents to be shredded at no charge. Staples and paper clips may be left on the documents, but binders, CDs, DVDs or other media will not be accepted.
In addition to Community Shred Day, the team at Eternal Valley Memorial Park offers a number of precautions to prevent identity theft from happening, such as:
•Keep personal and identifying information locked in a safe, away from visitors and contractors or caregivers. Bank, credit cards and medical statements, as well as other personal documents, offer a wealth of identifying information.
•Have mail delivered to a post office box instead of a home address. If it’s not possible to pick mail up from a mailbox, make arrangements with the post office to have mail delivered directly to the door.
•Always take outgoing mail to the post office or to a locked mailbox rather than letting it sit in an outside mailbox.
•Opt out of direct mail credit offers by calling the Federal Trade Commission’s OPTOUT line at: 1-888-567-8688. These solicitations contain personal information that identity thieves look for in trash cans.
•Don’t carry social security cards in a purse or wallet. Memorize the number and keep the card locked in a safe or safe deposit box.
•Have paper checks delivered to a post office box or to the issuing financial institution.
•Don’t include your home phone number, social security number, driver’s license number, or date of birth on your checks.
•When ordering checks, use only your first and middle initials with your last name, but sign the bank signature card and checks with your full name. This will alert the bank to any suspicious activity.
•Ask the bank to change an ATM debit card to an ATM-only card. These require a pin number and can only be used to withdraw money from the ATM machine, and then only with the correct pin number.
•When paying credit card bills by check, write only the last four digits of the account number on the check memo line.
•Don’t sign the back of credit and debit cards. Instead, write “PHOTO I.D. REQUIRED FOR USE” in the signature space. When a merchant takes the card to verify it, they should request your ID before completing the transaction.
You can bring up to four boxes to Eternal Valley Memorial Park, a local Dignity Memorial® provider, on Saturday, July 22 from 10 a.m.-1 p.m. It is located at 23287 Sierra Hwy. in Newhall. For more information or questions, call (661) 259-0800. Visit Eternalvalleymortuary.com.