WEST PALM BEACH, Fla. – Credit unions across the country are declaring April 16 Shred Day. According to those credit unions offering the free service to members, post-April 15 is the perfect time to do some spring cleaning. They are advising members to gather all old papers including outdated tax forms, credit card receipts or old bills that need to be destroyed and have them shredded at their credit union. During 2004, 9.3 million Americans were victims of identity theft at an estimated total cost to consumers and businesses of $52 billion. Topeka, Kansas-based Credit Union Mortgage Services, Credit Union Service Center, Credit Unions United, Educational Credit Union, Kansas Super Chief Credit Union, and Shred Ink have teamed up to not only offer a free shredding service but also provide identity theft protection educational brochures. In addition, members can enter a drawing to win a personal shredder. San Antonio Federal Credit Union will be hosting its 3rd Annual Shred Day at five of its branches. The public is invited to bring up to 100 lbs. of personal papers per vehicle to one of these branches. The event is sponsored by the San Antonio Chapter of ARMA International and the professional shredding companies Marshall Shredding, DocuGuides, and Iron Mountain. The companies will provide equipment to shred documents on site, without charge. In promoting the event, SACU educates members on the benefits of shredding, including lessening the chances that personal information could fall into the hands of those who might misuse it to helping recycling efforts. Salem, Oregon-based Marion and Polk Schools Credit Union has lined up Garten Services Inc. to collect and shred papers that could potentially be used by identity thieves. The Garten big truck proclaiming “2 million pounds shredded each year” holds 7,000 pounds of shredded material and members have been limited to two medium-sized boxes each to ensure the maximum amount of people can participate in the event. MaPS will also hand a brand new personal shredder valued at $25 and a “$5 off on a $25 purchase” coupon for Office Depot to each person who opens a MaPS Market Investor account during April, with an opening balance of at least $1,000 from outside the credit union. “We’re all facing a rapidly growing threat of identity theft, and much of the information comes from old papers we toss away, according to the Federal Trade Commission. Shredding documents is one sure way to combat the problem,” said MaPS President/CEO Dan Penn. “Personal shredders are a must in our homes now, and we’re glad we can provide a number of them free.”

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