The Wisconsin Better Business Bureau, U.S. Postal Inspection Service and U.S. Postal Service will kick off National Consumer Protection Week by hosting a free Shred Day Event on Monday, March 4.
Consumers and businesses are invited to stop by the Milwaukee Main Post Office at 345 W. St. Paul Avenue from 9 a.m. to noon to shred their unwanted documents, for free. Limit: three reasonably sized boxes/bags per person.
Customers may drive up and park in the customer lot of the Main Post Office. They will have their shredding material placed into a movable bin and be invited inside.
Inside the main lobby, representatives from the Postal Inspection Service and the Better Business Bureau will be available to answer questions and offer free consumer protection information, including brochures and tips on Identity Theft. Postal Service marketing associates will also be available to provide customers informational materials about ordering packaging and shipping products along with updated pricing information.
Identity theft is the top consumer complaint nationally, according to the Federal Trade Commission (FTC). Crime statistics show that in 2011, more than 9.9 million Americans were victims of identity theft, costing them roughly $5 billion. And in 2011, there were 2,782 reported cases of identity theft in Wisconsin, according to the FTC’s Consumer Sentinel Network report. According to the report, Wisconsin ranks 37th in the nation for the most reported cases of identity theft per 100,000 residents. In Wisconsin, government documents/benefits fraud was the most common form of reported identity theft at 23 percent.
“This is a perfect opportunity for consumers and businesses to protect their identities by shredding unwanted personal, financial, confidential and business documents free of charge,” said Ran Hoth, CEO/president of the Wisconsin Better Business Bureau. “Identity theft is a serious crime. Many people don’t realize how easy it is for criminals to get hold of our personal information. By working with our partners, our goal is to make consumers information less accessible and empower people to be their own first line of defense against identity theft. Shredding personal information is an important first step in identity theft protection.”
The Wisconsin BBB has held “ShredFest” shredding events since 2007, in Milwaukee, Appleton and Madison. Last year, the BBB serviced more than 2,200 cars and shredded nearly 90,000 pounds of materials.
For more information or further inquiries, please contact the Wisconsin BBB at www.wisconsin.bbb.org or 414-847-6000 (metro Milwaukee), 920-734-4352 (Appleton), 608-268-2221 (Madison) or 1-800-273-1002 (elsewhere in Wisconsin).