ShredFest helps protect hundreds from identity theft

MILWAUKEE (WITI) -- Identity theft is one of the top crimes in the United States, and residents across Wisconsin took part in ShredFest today to help protect themselves.

There was a long line filled with people looking to shed a few pounds of paper on Saturday, October 4th.

"It's incredible," said Linda Vansluys.

Vansluys brought 4 boxes to shred. She randomly found old documents that include tax returns, in her basement.

"I was like, what am I going to do? So it was wonderful to find out this shred fest was happening for free," said Vansluys.

That's right, a free event to help protect you from identity theft.

"We actually opened up early because so many cars were lined up," said Lisa Schiller, from BBB Media Relations.

Hundreds of folks hoping to trash the old stuff, according to the Federal Trade Commission, identity theft is the fastest growing crime in the U.S. Just last year American consumers reported losing over $1.6 billion to fraud.

"It's very important to properly destroy your documents. People think if they just throw them in the garbage can or rip them up at home they're good to go, but actually it's better to have them shredded," said Schiller.

That includes anything with your Social Security number, birth date, passwords, pin numbers, and addresses -- things like old leases, contracts, and travel itineraries. It all has to go and Piranha Paper Shredding is going to take care of it for you.

"Yeah, you don't even have to leave your car. You just zoom right through, you open up the door, take out your boxes and away you go," said Schiller.

"Oh very efficient, everybody was very helpful, they just moved right along," said Vansluys.

It's a fast and simple safety measure that has a lasting effect.

At the last shredding event, they services 1,600 cars and destroyed over 32 tons of documents.

All of the paper shredded on Saturday will be turned into paper towels later.

If you missed today's event, the City of Oak Creek is hosting a Safe Shred Event next Saturday, October 11th, from 9:00 a.m. to Noon at the Oak Creek City Hall. The event will be located at Howell Ave. and Puetz.