The Wisconsin Better Business Bureau (BBB) is a non-profit organization that has worked for more than 70 years to create a marketplace where buyers and sellers can trust each other. It accomplishes this through consumer and business education, setting ethical standards for businesses, complaint resolution and exposing unethical business practices.
BBB Helps Consumers Thwart ID Theft by Hosting
Free Document Shredding Event
ID Theft is Nation’s #1 Complaint to FTC, Grew 8 percent in Wisconsin last year
On Saturday, April 21st, the Wisconsin Better Business Bureau will host “ShredFest” – a free document shredding event that helps people protect themselves from identity theft, the top consumer complaint to the Federal Trade Commission in 2011.
The event will be held at the AnchorBank branch, 18200 W. Capitol Drive in Brookfield from 8:30 am to 11 am. There is a limit of three boxes per car. AnchorBank and ProShred Security are co-sponsoring the event.
In 2011, there were 2,782 reported cases of identity theft in Wisconsin, according to the FTC’s Consumer Sentinel Network report. Of those, 42 percent (1,167) were from metro-Milwaukee residents. Wisconsin’s ID theft cases increased more than 8 percent from 2010’s mark of 2,553.
According to the report, Wisconsin ranks 37th in the nation for the most reported cases of identity theft per 100,000 residents, and out of 384 cities nationwide, metro-Milwaukee ranks 193rd.
In Wisconsin, government documents/benefits fraud was the most common form of reported identity theft at 23 percent, followed by credit card fraud (14 percent), phone or utilities fraud (12 percent), bank fraud (8 percent), employment-related fraud (7 percent) and loan fraud (3 percent).
Those aged 20 – 29 remain the most heavily targeted group, making up 23 percent of the total number of victims reporting their age in CSN.
Shredding personal information is an important first step in identity theft protection. In fact, most identity theft cases occur after personal information has been lost or stolen, which is why the BBB encourages consumers to dispose of unneeded personal documents responsibly.
“This is largely a crime of access,” said Randall Hoth, president/CEO of the Wisconsin Better Business Bureau. “Our goal here is to make the information less accessible and empower people to be their own first line of defense against identity theft.”
The BBB’s shredding event is part of a larger, national shredding day hosted by BBB offices throughout the United States. In addition to the event in Brookfield, the BBB will be hosting shredding events in Madison and Appleton.
For more information, including a records retention schedule and a list of items that should be shredded, go to www.wisconsin.bbb.org/shredfest or call 414-847-6000.