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Attorney General Kilmartin Kicks Off National Consumer Protection Week With Free Shred-a-Thons Across Rhode Island

Shredding documents containing personal information helps consumers ward off ID theft

In an effort to help Rhode Islanders protect themselves from identity theft, Attorney General Peter F. Kilmartin is once again hosting a series of free "shred-a-thons" throughout Rhode Island to mark this year's National Consumer Protection Week. After great turnout in previous years, the schedule of events will again be expanded to include more locations throughout the state.

National Consumer Protection Week, March 3-8, 2014, is a coordinated campaign to encourage consumers nationwide to take full advantage of their consumer rights and to make better-informed decisions. As in previous years, Attorney General Kilmartin will partner with Doc Shredding Corp. and the Rhode Island Community Food Bank in asking the public to bring a non-perishable food item when they drop off their documents.

In addition to the shredding events, Attorney General Kilmartin will also share tips and information daily through Twitter and his blog to help Rhode Island consumers protect their privacy, manage money and debt, avoid identity theft, and avoid frauds and scams.

"The U.S. Department of Justice has estimated that approximately 16.6 million people nationwide experience identity theft each year," said Attorney General Kilmartin. "And, although data breaches at major retailers are a huge concern that my office continues to investigate, many cases of identity theft are committed in a much more low-tech way: by picking someone's personal information out of the trash. Shredding documents that contain your personal information is one of the best ways to protect yourself against identity theft, which is why we have partnered with Doc Shredding Corp. to provide these free events. Rhode Islanders have really gotten the message that shredding documents containing personal information is an easy, effective way to protect your identity in fact, each of our shred-a-thons has been more popular than the last, so we've increased the number of locations in order to accommodate all those wishing to take advantage of these events."

The secure shredding service is provided by Doc Shredding Corp. The securely locked trucks will be at the shred-a-thon events. Consumers can load their documents on the truck and receive a "certificate of destruction" from Doc Shredding, which certifies that all documents collected will be handled and destroyed with the highest degree of security. Materials are transported back to Doc Shredding Corp.'s secure facility, shredded to a fine confetti and baled on a large plant-based shredder. This offers the same level of security and confidentiality as mobile shredding, but is a "greener" option than having a diesel truck running continuously. The shredded documents are then recycled, thereby keeping tons of material out of Rhode Island landfills.

"We are very excited to once again work with the Rhode Island Attorney General's Office in helping Rhode Islanders safely dispose of confidential documents," said Brian Johnson, President of Doc Shredding Corp. "Too often, people throw away documents that contain sensitive information, like bills and receipts. Shredding these documents is a very simple step consumers can take to protect their identity and personal information, and we are proud to participate in this important initiative. I was very pleased with the turnout in previous years, and that we were able to collect items for the Food Bank."

Recognizing the increased demand on food banks across the state, the Attorney General is asking participants to once again consider bringing a non-perishable food item for the Rhode Island Community Food Bank. Most-needed food items include peanut butter, canned soups, stews and vegetables, dried or canned beans, brown rice, whole wheat pasta, tuna fish and nutritious cereal. More than 68,000 people now rely on the Rhode Island Community Food Bank's statewide network of 178 agencies that provide food at 223 sites to help meet their basic food needs. Approximately one out of three persons served by the Food Bank is a child under the age of 18.

"The need for food assistance remains at an all-time high in Rhode Island, because so many adults are still struggling to find work that will pay the bills and feed their families," says Andrew Schiff, Chief Executive Officer of the Rhode Island Community Food Bank. "We appreciate every can of food and every dollar that is donated. We'll put it to immediate good use, taking care of our most vulnerable citizens."

The shred-a-thons are free and open to the public. All consumers are invited to drop off up to two "banker boxes" of materials for shredding. (A full list of dates and locations is below.)

National Consumer Protection Week Shred-a-Thon Locations

Monday, March 3 kickoff event

9:00 a.m. 11:00 a.m.
Pilgrim Senior Center
27 Pilgrim Parkway, Warwick

Tuesday, March 4
9:00 a.m. 11:00 a.m.
Westerly Senior Center
39 State Street, Westerly

12:00 p.m. 2:00 p.m.
Johnston Senior Center
1291 Hartford Avenue, Johnston

Wednesday, March 5
9:00 a.m. 11:00 a.m.
Cranston Senior Center
1070 Cranston Street, Cranston

12:00 p.m. 2:00 p.m.
Community College of Rhode Island Flanagan Campus
1762 Louisquisset Pike, Lincoln

Thursday, March 6
9:00 a.m. 11:00 a.m.
North Kingstown Community Center (parking lot)
30 Beach Street, North Kingstown

12:00 p.m. 2:00 p.m.
Middletown Police Department
123 Valley Road, Middletown

Friday, March 7
9:00 a.m. 11:00 a.m.
East Providence City Hall
145 Taunton Avenue, East Providence

Saturday, March 8
9:00 a.m. 11:00 a.m.
Pawtucket City Hall
137 Roosevelt Avenue, Pawtucket

About the Office of the Attorney General Consumer Protection Unit
The Office of the Attorney General Consumer Protection Unit investigates and mediates consumer complaints concerning unfair and unlawful business practices and misleading advertising arising out of alleged violations of the Deceptive Trade Practices Act. If groups of people are victimized by a deceptive trade practice, this office may file in the Superior Court a civil investigative demand, which is a formal investigation. In appropriate cases, a lawsuit to stop the illegal business practice may be initiated.

Apart from carrying out its statutory responsibilities, the Unit also provides information and referral services to the general public. Consumers are directed to the appropriate governmental or private agencies for help in answering specialized questions or resolving disputes that are not within the Unit's jurisdiction.

The Consumer Protection Unit is available to speak to community groups on how to prevent being a victim of identity theft and other scams. If you believe you are a victim of consumer fraud, please contact the Consumer Protection Unit by calling 401-274-4400 or email at contactus@riag.ri.gov.

About Doc Shredding Corp.
Doc Shredding Corp. is a small, privately-owned company that specializes in the destruction and recycling of confidential information. Doc Shredding Corp is a NAID "AAA" Certified company, providing certified, secure, and confidential destruction of paper files, records, documents, tapes, CD's, media, hard drives, office equipment and e-waste.

The Rhode Island Community Food Bank is a non-profit organization located in Providence, RI. The Food Bank solicits, stores and distributes food products donated by supermarkets, wholesalers, food processors, local farmers and community food drives. The food is then distributed to the Food Bank's statewide network of 248 member agency programs. In the past fiscal year, the Food Bank distributed 9.4 million pounds of food. For more information about the Food Bank, please visit www.rifoodbank.org.

Related links

Department or agency: Department of the Attorney General

Online: http://www.riag.ri.gov/

Release date: 02-24-2014

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