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HeritageBank to hold shred-a-thon
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Consumers can protect themselves from becoming a victim of identity theft by simply shredding personal documents.

HeritageBank of the South has teamed with Cintas Document Shredding and the Effingham Herald to offer a free shred-a-thon. The shred-a-thon will be held April 20 from 9 a.m.-12 noon in the parking lot of HeritageBank’s Rincon office. Everyone is invited to bring paper documents such as tax records and bank statements, which will be shred on the spot by Cintas professionals.

Items qualified for shred include: junk mail, credit reports, catalogs, pay stubs, insurance documents, licenses and certificates, medical records, papers with social security information such as tax returns, tax forms and information, identification cards, expired passports, bank statements, check images, old bills such as utility, cable and phone bills.

Each customer is asked to limit their shred to no more than the amount their car can carry, i.e. no U-Hauls or multiple loads.

Additional information regarding the free community shred-a-thon is available on the bank’s Web site,

HeritageBank of the South encourages residents to shred their chances of becoming a victim of identity theft. Last year 12.6 million Americans became victims of identity theft, the most prevalent, fastest growing crime in the nation. The reason — personal information is easy to obtain and identity thieves are difficult to catch. Consumers can limit their chances of becoming an identity theft victim by shredding personal documents.

Identity theft occurs when someone uses personal information such as a social security number, address or bank account numbers without permission to commit fraud. For Georgia residents, the risk is even greater as the state has ranked second in the nation for reported cases of identity theft over the past two years.

There are numerous ways an identity thief can steal personal information, but the oldest method is still the most popular — dumpster diving. Dumpster diving is simply the act of rummaging through a victim’s trash until useful documents are found. These can be bank statements, monthly bills, old check books, or any other document with your personal information.

Thieves then use this information to open credit cards in their victims’ names, forge government documents such as driver’s licenses or even use for medical services.