NAPERVILLE, Ill. (6/4/08)--Credit unions in Illinois declared June “Shred Month” as part of a new statewide consumer awareness campaign called “iBelong.” The Illinois Credit Union League (ICUL) entered into an agreement to participate in iBelong with the Pennsylvania Credit Union Association for two years. On shred days, the community is invited to bring unwanted personal documents, such as tax paperwork, old account statements, cancelled credits, and credit card and ATM receipts to be shredded in participating credit unions’ parking lots. “Every three seconds, someone becomes a victim of identity theft,” said Dan Plauda, ICUL president/CEO. “Education and properly disposing of personal documents are among the best ways to deter thieves.” More than nine million Americans are victims of identity theft each year, and identity theft fraud accounted for more than 33% of all complaints reported last year, according to data from the Federal Trade Commission. Identity thieves often steal information by dumpster diving, or rummaging through a victim’s trash in search of documents with personal information. Thieves also use phishing, where they pretend to be a legitimate financial institution to get consumers to reveal their personal information through e-mails or pop-up messages, the league said. The ICUL’s guidelines for keeping documents include:
* Credit card receipts and statements: Keep receipts until your monthly statement arrives, if it’s correct, shred the receipts. Exceptions: Keep a receipt if you’re disputing a bill or to cover a warranty or return period. Keep statements for seven years if they contain tax-related expenses; * Paycheck stubs: Make sure the information on your paycheck stubs matches your annual W-2 form, then shred the stubs; * Credit union records: At the end of the year, go through share draft carbons or statements and keep only those related to taxes, business expenses, and housing or mortgage payments; * Tax records: Keep a copy of all 1040 tax forms permanently; and * Miscellaneous: Keep household inventory, birth and death certificates, marriage licenses, divorce papers, military records, insurance claims, accident reports and claims, proof of ownership and major debt repayment, individual retirement account contribution records and legal correspondence.
More than 2,200 newspaper ads in 270 papers, 4,400 radio ads on 90 stations, 103 billboards in 19 counties and 5,500 cable TV spots began running in May as part of the iBelong campaign. The campaign touts lower fees, personal service, better rates and caring staff. For more information, along with shred locations and dates, use the links.