The Better Business Bureau has expanded its annual "Secure Your ID" document shredding event to two days later this week.
On Friday, the BBB will offer free help to businesses and consumers with identity protection assistance at DuPont Community Credit Union, 4503 Hixson Pike. On Saturday, a similar document shredding and ID protection event will be held at Lee Corners at the intersection of Lee Highway and Highway 153.
At each event, BBB will offer help in shredding and properly disposing of sensitive paper documents. BBB staff will also be on-site to provide expert advice and tips for identity theft protection.
"Properly destroying documents that include information you do not want getting into the hands of crooks is an important first step to fighting identity theft, but it does not end there," BBB President Jim Winsett said. "That is why BBB experts will also be on hand offering important advice and simple steps everyone can take to prevent ID theft in their daily lives, both online and off."
Last year, an estimated 13 million Americans became victims of ID theft, resulting in the loss of $21 billion.
Persons and businesses may bring up to three boxes or bags of documents to be shredded at this week's BBB events. Documents to be shredded should be removed from binders, but staples, and paper clips can be shredded.
At two nationwide Secure Your ID days in 2013, BBB helped individuals and small businesses at more than 113 sites across the country shred 3 million pounds of sensitive documents.
"Identity theft is largely a crime of access," Winsett said. "Our goal here is to make the information less accessible and empower people to be their own first line of defense against identity theft. With community-based BBB's across North America collaborating simultaneously, we will have a tremendous coast-to-coast presence that will reach many people and, hopefully, prevent a lot of theft."
More information on BBB's "Secure Your ID Day" is available at www.chattanooga.bbb.org.