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The Better Business Bureau of Southern Colorado wants to help prevent residents from falling victim to identity fraud.

Each year, identity theft affects more than 9 million Americans and costs the U.S. economy roughly $56 billion, according to the BBB.

The BBB of Southern Colorado is partnering with Mobile Record Shredders to host its annual shredding event, LETTER RIP, from 9 a.m.-noon Aug. 10, at the Pueblo Mall, 3429 Dillon Drive.

“We are pleased to be able to offer this service to help people destroy documents that none of us want falling into the hands of crooks,” said Gina Sacripanti, vice president of marketing and public relations, in a press release for the event. “This is a first step in fighting identity theft, and we hope people take action to help prevent ID theft in their daily lives, both online and offline.”

Last year, the event had an increase in participation by 47 percent in documents shredded compared to 2016.

2017 event statistics:
22,000 lbs. of paper shredded
560 cars attended
$2,291 raised in donations

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Consumers aren’t the only ones who should be concerned about being targeted by identity thieves, the Colorado Secretary of State’s website states.

Business identity theft is becoming more popular, which is when a criminal steals a business’s information to open up lines of credit with banks and/or retailers.

“With these lines of credit, the identity thieves will purchase commercial electronics, home improvement materials, gift cards, and other items that can be bought and exchanged for cash or sold with relative ease,” the secretary of state’s website states. “The damage can be devastating to the victim’s business. The damage to the victim’s credit history can lead to denial of credit, which can lead to operational problems.”

A Business Identity Theft Resource Guide developed by the secretary of state, Colorado Attorney General and the Colorado Bureau of Investigation ID Theft Union is available online at sos.state.co.us.

Event registration and reservations can be made online at bit.ly/PuebloLetterRip or by calling 719-389-1087.

Rules for bringing documents include:

  • Up to five boxes (standard copier paper size box, 11” x 18” x 10.5”) or small bags of documents to be shredded free of charge.
  • Additional boxes and bags may be shredded at $5 for each additional standard copier size box and $10 for each additional large box.
  • Remove documents from binders.
  • X-Rays, CDs and floppy disks can be shredded but need to be separated from paper.
  • Paper clips and staples may be left on documents.

Donations collected at the event go to the BBB of Southern Colorado’s Pueblo Scholarship Fund.

The organization also hosts an annual shredding event in Colorado Springs. Visit bbb.org/southern-colorado for information about more upcoming events in Pueblo and Colorado Springs.

“As we know, identity theft is primarily a crime of access,” Sacripanti said. “Our goal at BBB is to make information less accessible and empower people to be their own first line of defense.”