Spring cleaning isn’t complete until you safely shred the proper outdated documents after filing taxes.
AARP New York and Attorney General Letitia James kicked off the first of a statewide series of free shredding events at the Henry Street Settlement today to prevent scammers from obtaining personal data.
AARP New York is sponsoring 27 of these “Fight Fraud. Shred It!” events across New York State through Saturday, June 3, 2023, to coincide with people sorting out their finances and clearing old sensitive documents.
“There’s no better time to take stock of obsolete documents with identifying information and shred them safely. We’re empowering New Yorkers to fight back against fraudsters with these popular shredding events,” said Beth Finkel, AARP New York State Director. “In the New York metro area, there were 202,205 reports of fraud in 2022, according to the Federal Trade Commission. That is not acceptable. Criminals keep getting more and more sophisticated, but we will not back down. AARP is combatting the shame and self-blame game people feel if they fall victim to scams and fraud. A good first step is to shred documents with identifying information.”
“Shredding documents with personal, financial, or sensitive information on them is a common sense way to protect against fraud and scammers,” said New York Attorney General Letitia James. “That is why I’m proud to partner with AARP and Henry Street Settlement for the ‘Fight Back Against Fraud. Shred Instead!’ series of events. As Attorney General, I will keep up the fight against scammers and will always support efforts to help New Yorkers protect themselves and their families.”
“On behalf of Manhattan’s seniors and their loved ones, I thank AARP for hosting an event that empowers seniors to protect themselves against fraud, deed theft, and scams. The free shredding service is an excellent way for seniors to securely destroy sensitive papers and take proactive measures to safeguard their personal information,” said Manhattan Borough President Mark Levine. “Today’s event is a testament to AARP’s commitment to serving our community and helping our seniors live safer and more secure lives.”
“Henry Street Settlement is deeply committed to protecting the health, safety, and dignity of our older adult community members,” said David Garza, president and CEO of the Settlement, which provides ongoing education to older adult participants to sensitize them to rapidly changing fraud tactics. “We appreciate and applaud Attorney General Letitia James and AARP for holding this important shredding event, for their ongoing work to defend older adults in our community from the pernicious threat of fraud and identity theft, and for taking on the scammers who would try to harm our neighbors.” Founded in 1893, Henry Street Settlement opens doors of opportunity for Lower East Side residents and other New Yorkers through social service, arts, and health care programs.
The shredding events are being held after tax day as people sort out their finances and clear outdated and sensitive documents. They will continue through Saturday, June 3, 2023.
Crime is innovative and constantly changing. To slow it down, prevention is key. And knowledge gives individuals power over scams. AARP will also provide resources to educate consumers about fraud during the events.
AARP launched the Fraud Watch Network to arm Americans with proven tools to fight back against identity theft and scams. The AARP Fraud Watch Network equips people with reliable, up-to-date insights, and a free Fraud Network Helpline is available to help you and your loved ones.
AARP advocates at the state, federal, and local levels to enact policy changes that protect consumers and enforce laws.
Those wishing to attend the shredding events must limit materials to three bags. The events conclude when the two on-site trucks are full. The sites may close early if the trucks fill up. Paper only and no magazines, newspapers, books, or cardboard. The shredding events are being conducted with support from the AARP Fraud Watch Network and the AARP Foundation.
Here’s a spring cleaning checklist from security experts to rid your home of paper with sensitive info:
- Old documents: Papers that carry your Social Security number, birthdate, signature, account numbers, passwords or PIN numbers.
- Banking: Canceled or unused checks. Shred deposit slips and ATM and credit card receipts
- Credit Cards: Preapproved credit card applications and incentive/gift checks from credit card companies.
- Medical: Unneeded medical bills.
- Investments: Investment account statements.
- Obsolete ID cards: Expired driver’s licenses, medical insurance cards and passports.
More information on how to keep yourself safe from identity theft fraud, and alerts regarding other types of scams, is available from the Fraud Watch Network at www.aarp.org/FraudWatchNetwork.
Shredding services are free of charge and open to the public. To find and register for a local shredding event across New York State, visit www.aarp.org/NYStopScams or call 1-866-227-7442.
Additional resources available in several languages at www.ag.ny.gov
- Smart seniors, smart investors – This publication offers tips for older adults about making smart investments and avoiding investment fraud
- Smart seniors – This booklet is aimed at helping senior citizens better understand how to protect themselves against scams, threats to their health, and elder abuse.
- Grandparent scheme – This publication provides tips for avoiding scams that target grandparents.
Follow us on Twitter: @AARPNY and Facebook: AARP New York
AARP is the nation’s largest nonprofit, nonpartisan organization dedicated to empowering people 50 and older to choose how they live as they age. With a nationwide presence and nearly 38 million members, AARP strengthens communities and advocates for what matters most to families: health security, financial stability and personal fulfillment. AARP also produces the nation’s largest circulation publications: AARP The Magazine and AARP Bulletin. To learn more, visit www.aarp.org, www.aarp.org/espanol or follow @AARP, @AARPenEspanol and @AARPadvocates, @AliadosAdelante on social media.
Photo credit: Harlem Shred. Assemblyman Taylor with James C. O’Neal, AARP New York State President; Reggie Nance Associate State Director for Multicultural Engagement for AARP New York, and AARP volunteers.
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