Thousands of documents were shredded in Lafayette Square on Friday, as employees with Ellis and Ellis Investment Management worked to keep the community safe.
The company was helping people protect their personal information that may have been printed from falling into the wrong hands. Once all the documents were placed in a trash bin, it was carted to a Rivermill Data Management truck, processed, and shredded on site. Folks could watch as their paper work was reduced to tiny scraps of paper.
“Identity theft is a huge problem,” explained Ellis and Ellis Financial Adviser, Aaron Mabon. “People dumpster dive. We’ve seen in the media there have been breaches at places like Target, or with Heartbleed. So to safely store your information so no one can get their hands on it is important.”
According to Ellis and Ellis Financial Adviser, Josh Britt, identity theft is one of the fastest growing crimes in America.
“A lot of times, identity thieves sell the information, so they can make a profit,” he said. “Or they want to mirror your image. They’ll steal your medical information and use your name and date of birth at a doctor’s office or hospital.”
Britt said even your children’s personal information is valuable to these thieves. ” Kids identification and social security numbers are stolen all the time, especially during tax season. People use it so they can claim them as dependents.”
Some of the documents that carry sensitive information include: bank statements, old tax returns, pay stubs, medical records, insurance records, utility and phone bills, IRA contributions, house deeds, and warranties. Each of these items need to be kept for a certain amount of time, but should be stored in a safe place. Depending on the documents, after a period of time has passed, Britt suggests shredding them to keep the information from identity thieves.
“We want to get the word out that this stuff needs to be shredded,” said Britt. “It’s after tax season, most people are spring cleaning, so it’s a great time to do it.”
According to Rivermill Data Management Maintenance Supervisor, David Williams, their company shreds about 43,000 pounds of documents three times a week. The Columbus based business will travel to other businesses, hospitals, medical offices, and even people’s homes to destroy important documents. After shredding the papers, the company then recycles the tiny scraps that are left.
This is the first time Ellis and Ellis has held the paper shredding event, but Britt said this is a service they provide to all their clients on a regular basis. He also said they shredded seven tons of documents at Friday’s event.
If you’d like to know more about what documents to shred and the time frame for keeping sensitive documents, call Ellis and Ellis at 706-884-6470.