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AARP California’s Document-Shredding Takes Aim at ID Theft

Posted on 04/26/18 by Anai Ibarra, AARP California

Español Part of More than 150 Events Nationwide in AARP’s Annual “Operation: Stop Scams”

AARP California’s events are part of more than 150 free document-shredding events and fraud-fighting programs being held in communities coast-to-coast as part of AARP’s second annual “Operation: Stop Scams,” a five-week-long series of more than 150 events in communities coast-to-coast.

The anti-fraud activities sponsored by AARP’s local offices in more than 35 states  include: paper-shredding events, fraud education programs – popularly referred to as “scam jams,” AARP Fraud Watch Network background presentations, tele-town halls and phone bank call-out sessions to warn consumers of the latest scams.  Consumers can visit www.aarp.org/OperationStopScams to find the event closest to their community.

California residents reported 55,418 cases of identity theft to the Federal Trade Commission during 2017, yet a new AARP survey finds that almost half of consumers ignore experts’ recommendations to regularly shred their sensitive financial records.

“With Tuesday marking the end of the tax-filing season, we’re reminding our members and others that it’s a great time to clear out and discard their obsolete financial documents. Our shredding event provides a convenient and safe way for people to destroy this sensitive paperwork,” said Nancy McPherson, AARP CA State Director. “April 21-28 is also Money Smart Week, and we’re offering special activities to inform consumers about how to avoid fraud and scams.”

Money Smart Week, April 21-28, is a collaborative between thousands of organizations across the United States that offer financial education programs designed to help consumers learn to better manage their personal finances.

Nationwide, AARP paper-shredding events during the next five weeks total more than 100.  More than 1 million pounds of sensitive documents were destroyed during “Operation Stop Scams” in 2017.

In AARP’s recent poll on tax fraud and identity theft issues, 80 percent of respondents agreed that shredding paperwork that contains Social Security numbers, birth dates and financial account numbers is  “very” or “extremely” important.  Yet, 34 percent admitted that they shred just “rarely” or “sometimes.”  Twelve percent said they have never shredded such documents.

The AARP Fraud Watch Network launched in 2013 as a free resource for people of all ages.  The FWN website provides information about fraud and scams, prevention tips from experts, an interactive scam-tracking map, fun educational quizzes, and video presentations featuring Fraud Watch Network Ambassador Frank Abagnale.  Users may sign up for “Watchdog Alert” emails that deliver breaking scam information, or call a free helpline at 877-908-3360 to speak with volunteers trained in fraud counseling.

Abagnale, the renowned fraud expert whose personal story was depicted in the hit movie “Catch Me If You Can,” is also host of a new AARP weekly podcast series, “The Perfect Scam,” that launched this month.

Would like to be aware of other AARP events like this in your community? Follow us on Facebook and Twitter to stay informed!

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