PHILADELPHIA, April 29, 2017 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- Over 24,000 pounds of paper were shredded today at a free shredding event to help Philadelphians safely discard personal information.
AARP, in collaboration with the Philadelphia Sheriff's Office, Philadelphia Controller's Office, Councilwoman Cindy Bass, Council Members At-Large Al Taubenberger, David Oh, and Derek Green, and the Spanish American Law Enforcement Association, hosted the event to protect consumers from falling victim to identity thieves.
"Every two seconds someone's identity is stolen and shredding events can help Philadelphians avoid becoming another identity theft statistic," said Alan Butkovitz, Philadelphia City Controller.
"Unfortunately, many consumers fall victim to fraud and identity theft because of stolen or copied documents that contain their personal information," said Philadelphia Sheriff Jewell Williams. "Joining with AARP to help dispose of outdated information helps to ensure it's not used in a malicious manner."
"We're doing our part to help consumers learn about fraud, avoid scams, and to engage at the local level," stated Bill Johnston-Walsh, AARP Pennsylvania State Director. "Here in Philadelphia, we've worked with city leadership to offer educational programs and events like the 'Operation: Stop Scams' shredding service."
"Many people can't afford to buy an expensive paper shredder nor access or pay the fees of a shredding service," stated Councilwoman Cindy Bass. "These free events provide a safe way to dispose of personal documents and clear out bills, receipts and mail piling up in your home."
Consumers looking to purchase a shredder should opt for a micro-cut shredder which makes it impossible for identity thieves to reassemble the pages.
"We need to outsmart identity thieves because they are getting better at committing fraud," stated Councilman Al Taubenberger. "With every new technological development, financial fraud becomes more widespread and, unfortunately, it can be crippling for victims, both financially and emotionally."
"Many identity theft victims never find closure," said Edwin Lopez, President of the Spanish American Law Enforcement Association, citing the difficulty of identifying and prosecuting fraudsters. "Law enforcement is here to help, but it's up to you to protect your personal information."
"Identity theft and fraud are prevailing threats for Philadelphia's seniors. Last year, 38% of Pennsylvania's fraud victims were between ages 50-69, and 34% of identity theft victims were in the same range," said Councilman David Oh. "I thank the AARP for working to better inform and protect our citizens."