The Automobile Club of Southern California, Cintas Service Professionals and Experian hosted a free neighborhood Shred-a-Thon in Costa Mesa this weekend to help deter identity theft and in the process recycled 2.325 tons of paper and saved the equivalent of almost 40, 40-ft. Douglas Fir trees. All shredded material will be recycled into home insulation.
The event that coincided with the upcoming 40th anniversary of Earth Day was held at the Auto Club’s Administrative Offices, 3333 Fairview Road.
An estimated 160 Auto Club members and residents brought banker boxes and paper grocery bags filled with junk mail and personal papers that contained names, birth dates, and account numbers, for free on-site shredding. More than 11 million Americans were victims of identity theft last year, a 37 percent increase from 2008, according to Javelin Strategy & Research, a California firm that studied identity theft threats.
The Javelin survey also showed that thieves stole $54 billion from identity theft victims of all ages and 18 to 24-year-olds who are active online were most at risk for ID theft.
"The community event highlighted the importance of destroying personal information properly, and critical step in guarding one’s identity, along with drawing attention to recycling and Earth Day,” said Denise Bialek, program manager of AAA Discounts.
Certified Cintas staffers loaded documents into 64 gallon bins, then dumped them into trucks customized to shred large volumes of documents into pin-sized bits. Banker boxes and paper bags also were collected for shredding and recycling as well.
Along with shredding and recycling, Auto Club members and local residents were invited to attend an identity theft presentation by Experian/ProtectMyID, which provides an identity theft benefit to Auto Club members. .
Also, Auto Club automotive experts discussed the Auto Club’s Green Car Guide and fuel savings tips as part of the event. Five green vehicles featured in the guide, including the report’s number one top-scoring selection, the Subaru forester 2.5X, were displayed.
Those who visited the Shred-a-Thon received a blue canvas Auto Club tote bag to reduce plastic bag use.