Proper disposal of personal files could help prevent identity theft

Crime

You can minimize or eliminate your risk for data breaches.

According to the Federal Trade Commission, consumers lost  $905 million to fraud in 2017, $63 million more than the previous year.

Last year, nearly 1,600 data breaches exposed 179 million records. In 2017, a data breach at credit reporting agency, Equifax, exposed the personal information of 143 million Americans. 

“All their cards information, whether it’s a driving license number or credit card and actually photocopy them, front and back,” said James Winston, a Northampton Attorney. “So they have that information, so if that information got physically stolen, they would actually have it.”

Identity theft occurs when someone obtains your personal information, such as your Social Security Number, or credit card or account, to defraud you. 

“Face up to two years behind bars and a fine of $5000, as well as, paying restitution for the damages they caused if they are convicted of identity theft in Massachusetts,” Winston told 22News.

Once the damage is done you could lose thousands of dollars trying to repair your credit.

Identity thieves employ a wide array of tactics to access your personal information, they include stealing your wallet, diverting your mail or dumpster diving; where they can access your personal information thru your mail. 

To help protect you, 22News is hosting a free community shredding event at the Eastern States Exposition in West Springfield on Saturday. 

You can shred up to five boxes of sensitive documents.

If you plan to attend our free community shredding event, we ask that you bring a donation of non-perishable food item to help those in need.

Copyright 2019 Nexstar Broadcasting, Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

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