Community Combats Identity Theft

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Meridian, Miss. Identity theft is a growing issue across the United States and several agencies are working to combat the issue. The Attorney General's Office in Mississippi has partnered with several businesses in the past 8 years to help consumers get rid of documents that are targeted by identity thieves. Some of the businesses include The Better Business Bureau, The Mississippi State Extension Service, and Wal-Mart.

In its third year in Meridian, the service allows you to bring up to 5 bags or boxes of your sensitive documents to be shredded for free. The service is provided to show consumers just how aware you need to be about your sensitive information. According to Jack Rodenbaugh, an investigator of the Consumer Office, it requires keeping a lot of personal information private.

"You got to take care of your personal information, those numbers that are you," said Rodenbaugh. "Your account numbers, your Social Security Number, to not give those to someone that's going to do the wrong thing with them.

With the weather cooperating, the free service held at Wal-Mart Supercenter on Highway Nineteen North had a huge turnout. Through a partnership with Cinta's and their mobile shredder, the documents dropped off from individuals are emptied into a trash can and then shredded on site. According to Rodenbaugh, not only are we prone from identity theft through our documents, but through the internet as well. The best thing to do is to always work to prevent identity theft from happening.

"People need to understand they need to be the first line of defense," said Rodenbaugh. "Prevent identity theft rather than trying to chase it down and pursue it and prosecute it later. It's so much easier to do the prevention."

When it comes down to prevention, the best way to protect your identity from thieves is to shred private information each year.

The partnership is also allowing individuals to properly dispose of their old computers, laptops, printers, and cell phones. If you have any of these items, you can take them to Magnolia Data Solutions in Jackson, located at 160 Fairbanks Street.