The Putnam County Board of Realtors and Farm Credit Service will be hosting a free Community Shred Day on Saturday, May 19 from 10 a.m. -- 1 p.m. at the Farm Credit Service building in Greencastle.
The community is invited to have personal documents, including papers, credit cards, CDs, DVDs and hard drives, shredded or destroyed as well as participating in a paper-recycling program.
Shredding of these items can help prevent identity theft, which is something that can happen to anyone at anytime.
"Even though most people think that it's electronic these days it's really not," explained Diane Ummel of the Putnam County Board of Realtors. "It's things like dumpster diving, skimming and phishing."
According to the Federal Trade Commission as many as nine million Americans have their identity stolen each year. Although some forms can be resolved in a short period of time, many situations can take several months or even years.
"Thieves will generally open new accounts in your name," Ummel said. "They may obtain a credit card, phone line, write counterfeit checks or even take out a loan."
In Putnam County there has even been a circumstance where one person's identity was stolen to file a false tax return.
"Sometimes people don't realize their identity may have been stolen," Ummel said. "I'd advise people to check their accounts regularly for unusual activity."
Along with reviewing accounts for things such as credit cards and bank statements, one can also receive a free credit report each year.
"It can be very far reaching," Ummel noted. "Identity theft could be going on for years. Even if you know about it, it can take months or even years to clean up the damage that has been done."
If one is victim of identity theft, they should contact the institution involved first. There are also government resources which can be found online. A police report may be needed as well.
"The biggest thing is awareness. Don't leave your mail outside for a long period of time. Don't just throw away bank and credit card statements," Ummel explained. "We are trying to promote awareness in the community through the Community Shred Day."
It is advised that any document with your name, address or account number should be destroyed by shredding or burning. Simply recycling or throwing away such items puts one at risk for identity theft.
The Community Shred Day will allow the community to bring documents such as financial records, canceled checks, credit card and bank statements, medical records, HR records and much more to the Farm Credit Service parking lot to be shredded by ProShred Security.
Staples, paperclips and even binder clips do not need to be removed prior to the shred day. ProShred industrial shredders will easily shred through them.
All shredded material will then be recycled, and mature trees will be preserved, Ummel said.
Donations to the Putnam County Board of Realtors Scholarship Fund will be accepted during this time.
Farm Credit Service is located at 1000 U.S. 231 North in Greencastle. For more information persons may call 720-2091.