NEW YORK—The second Annual Shred Fest was held Sunday, May 3, from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. The event was organized by Consumer Affairs Commissioner Jonathan Mintz, Criminal Justice Coordinator John Feinblatt and officials from the Department of Parks & Recreation and the Department of Sanitation.
The Shred Fest was to raise awareness about and prevent identity theft, stressing the importance of shredding documents with personal information rather than just tossing them out.
“An estimated 10 million Americans have their identities stolen every year, but most consumers don’t realize that they are actually their own best identity protectors,” Mintz said. “The City’s 11-site, five-borough Shred Fest caps our month-long campaign to raise public awareness about identity theft protection, and will help empower New Yorkers to take proactive steps to protect their own or their customers’ sensitive personal information throughout the year.”
New Yorkers could bring their documents to one of the 11 locations throughout the five boroughs in New York City to have their papers shredded for free. The industrial shredders were mounted with monitors so that the consumers could be sure their documents were completely shredded. The first five at each site received a free personal shredder donated by Staples.
The documents organizers recommend shredding include bank statements, pay stubs, credit card applications, or anything else containing Social Security Numbers, account numbers, passwords, PINs, signatures, or other contact information.
Identity theft is now the fastest growing crime in the U.S. Last year, almost 12,000 New Yorkers were victims of identity theft.
“Identity theft has become the most common financial crime in America,” Feinblatt said. “But New Yorkers can stand up to ID theft. With a bit of vigilance and some careful planning, criminals will have fewer chances to profit off of your good name.”
Parks & Recreation Commissioner Adrian Benepe said that public parks are accessible gathering places and was pleased many of them were being used to host the Shred Fest.
“Don’t be a victim of identity theft! Your private documents are better shred than read, so bring your personal documents to be shredded and recycled, all while enjoying our public parks,” Benepe said.
Sanitation Commissioner John J. Doherty was also highly supportive of the event.
“Shred Fest gives residents an opportunity to safeguard their identities by keeping confidential paperwork containing sensitive data out of the public waste and recycling streams where they may be viewed either on public streets or at transfer sites,” he said. “Plus, it encourages paper recycling. The Department is also pleased to have contributed to the outreach for this event by displaying colorful Shred Fest posters on the side of all 2,000 DSNY collection trucks and 450 mechanical sweepers.”
Pamphlets and materials on how to protect yourself from identity theft were also available at the shredding sites for consumers.