News release from Department of Commerce and Insurance:
NASHVILLE, TN – The Department of Commerce and Insurance (TDCI) Consumer Affairs division and the Tennessee Attorney General’s Office have joined forces to promote identity theft awareness. The two agencies will host a free shredding event from 11 a.m. until 3 p.m. Saturday, Oct. 1, at LP Field’s Lot D. (Note: That’s in Nashville.)
“This annual event enables consumers to safely shred and dispose of their outdated, private records,” TDCI Commissioner Julie Mix McPeak said. “The participation of departments such as Safety and Homeland Security to support our agencies speaks to the impact of identity theft.”
Consumer Affairs and the Attorney General’s Office will have personnel available to hand out information on identity theft prevention and to answer consumers’ questions. In addition, members of the Tennessee Highway Patrol and the Department of Safety and Homeland Security’s Criminal Investigations Division will be at the event to distribute information on other preventive measures. There will be a two-box maximum per vehicle, five-box maximum for businesses. Newspaper and cardboard will not be accepted.
“Identity theft is one of the fastest growing crimes in Tennessee,” said Consumer Affairs Director Gary Cordell. “Identity thieves have been known to rifle through trash cans and large garbage bins in search of private documents, bills or other papers containing consumers’ personal information. Our goal is to encourage consumers to shred old documents that contain personal information before discarding them, in an effort to deter identity thieves.”
“Identity theft is a serious crime,” Attorney General Bob Cooper said. “We would like consumers to make a habit of regularly shredding outdated, personal documents to lessen the risk of leaving themselves vulnerable to identity theft. Everyone is at risk of having their information stolen and misused, regardless of their age or credit history.”
The Federal Trade Commission estimates that more than 9 million identity thefts occur in the United States every year. The total cost of identity theft in 2010 was $37 billion. While identity theft victims may not find out about thefts until they receive a credit card statement, it can take years and hundreds of dollars to restore a person’s good name and credit. In the meantime, negative information on a credit report can affect job opportunities and access to credit. The average victim spends more than 33 hours trying to resolve the problem and clearing up records.