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Every Two Seconds Someone’s Identity is Stolen; State and City Officials Join AARP to Launch Free Paper-Shredding Events Across NYS

Posted on 04/16/19 by Andre Hidalgo, AARP Blog Author

“Operation: Stop Scams” Helps New Yorkers Fight Back Against Identity Theft and Fraud; Today’s Manhattan Event First of 20+ from Buffalo to Long Island

NEW YORK, N.Y.—With an American’s identity being stolen every two seconds, New Yorkers fought back against fraud today and helped protect themselves from identity theft by shredding sensitive personal documents at AARP New York’s first “Operation: Stop Scams” free shredding event of 2019 with state and local officials on hand.

The event in Manhattan kicked off a series of more than 20 free and open-to-the-public shredding events AARP New York is offering across the state this year, from Long Island to Buffalo and from now through June.

State Senator Brian Benjamin, State Assembly Member Daniel O’Donnell, City Council Member Helen Rosenthal and Assistant Attorney General In Charge Gary Brown joined AARP to launch the initiative today at Goddard Riverside Community Center, 593 Columbus Avenue, warning consumers about the growing problem of identity theft and providing important tips on how to protect themselves.

Last year, New Yorkers filed more than 24,000 reports of identity fraud with the Federal Trade Commission, which estimates New Yorkers lost $65.7 million to fraud last year alone. But the problem is much broader than reported cases.

“Every two seconds, someone’s identity is stolen, and vigilance against scammers is our number one weapon,” said AARP New York State Director Beth Finkel. “We protect our email with passwords, and lock our phones with a thumbprint. But too many of us don’t protect sensitive paper documents that can fall into the hands of identity thieves. Whether you want to protect your hard-earned credit rating or keep your retirement nest egg safe, we can all take action to stop identity theft before it happens. We hope all New Yorkers will take advantage of this important free service.”

Assembly Member Daniel O’Donnell said, “I’m happy that I’m able to join Senator Jackson and Council Member Rosenthal in supporting this free shredding event provided by AARP, a service that I know many of our seniors throughout this district take great advantage of. Operation: Stop Scams is an incredibly important campaign to make sure that we stamp out identity theft before it continues to wreak havoc. I thank all those throughout the city and state that are participating in the launch of this AARP program, and I look forward to seeing its success.”

“Many thanks to AARP New York for organizing Tuesday’s free document shredding event on the Upper West Side. Events like this one help to combat identity theft, which is causing profound, long-term harm to an ever increasing number of New Yorkers. Because of AARP New York’s hard work, residents of our community will be able to safely and easily dispose of their personal documents,” said Council Member Helen Rosenthal (Manhattan, District 6).

Additional Operation: Stop Scams events will take place throughout the state:

New York City:

  • Manhattan: April 17, 10am–1pm, Rutgers Houses and LaGuardia Houses, 38-48 Rutgers Street
  • Queens: April 18, 10am–2pm, Alpha Phi Alpha Senior Citizens Center, 220-01 Linden Blvd, Cambria Heights
  • Staten Island: April 18, 10am–2pm, Knights of Columbus, 397 Clarke Avenue
  • Brooklyn: April 20, 10am–2pm, Mt. Sion Baptist Church, 365 Ralph Ave
  • Queens: April 24, 10am-2pm, Queens Library at Fresh Meadows, 193-20 Horace Harding Expressway, Fresh Meadows
  • Brooklyn: April 24, 11am–3pm, Restoration Plaza, 1368 Fulton Street
  • Bronx: April 27, 11am–2pm, Eastchester Church of God, 3020 Eastchester Road
  • Queens: April, 27, 10am-1pm, 43-06 Greenpoint Avenue, Long Island City
  • Manhattan: April 27, 9am–1pm, Esplanade Gardens, 2569 Adam Clayton Powell Blvd., Harlem
  • Brooklyn: May 19, 11am-2pm, PS 130, 713 Caton Avenue, Btw East 7th & 8th streets

Upstate New York:

  • Liverpool: April 17, 9am–11am, Onondaga Lake Park, 106 Lake Dr
  • Rochester: April 18, 9am–12pm, Marketplace Mall (JC Penney Lot), 1 Miracle Mile Drive
  • Albany: April 27, 10am–1pm, Macedonia Baptist Church, 26 Wilson Ave
  • Buffalo: May 10, 9am-12pm, St. Martin of Tours Church, 1140 Abbott Road
  • Kingston: May 11, 10am–2pm, Forsyth Park, Forsyth Park Rd/157 Lucas Ave
  • Albany: May 16, 9:30am–1:30pm, Sidney Albert Albany JCC, 340 Whitehall Road

Long Island:

  • South Huntington: Apr 27, 10am–12pm, South Huntington Library, 145 Pidgeon Hill Rd
  • Bayville: May 4, 10am–12pm, Bayville Library, 34 School Street
  • North Babylon: May 5, 2pm–4pm, North Babylon Library, 815 Deer Park Ave
  • New Hyde Park: May 18, 10am–12pm, Clinton G Park, 1601 Marcus Ave
  • Happauge: June 1, 10am–12pm, TFCU Happauge, 102 Motor Parkway
  • Brentwood: June 8, 10am–12pm, Brentwood Library, 34 Second Ave

Individuals may bring up to three grocery bags of paper documents to be shredded. Metal, plastic, books, magazines and commercial shredding will not be accepted. Shredding trucks will stay on site for the time scheduled or until they reach capacity.

Shredding services are being performed by third parties. All documents and information provided for shredding are subject to those parties’ privacy and informational security policies. A full list of Operation Stop Scam events in New York State can be found at www.aarp.org/nystopscams.

For New Yorkers who cannot attend an Operation: Stop Scams event, security experts urge consumers to shred the following types of materials to avoid having sensitive information compromised:

  • Old documents: Papers that carry your Social Security number, birth date, signature, account numbers, passwords or PIN numbers.
  • Banking: Canceled or unused checks. Shred deposit slips and ATM and credit card receipts, once you receive your monthly statements.
  • Credit Cards: Preapproved credit card applications and incentive/gift checks from credit card companies.
  • Medical: unneeded medical bills.
  • Investments: Investment account statements.
  • Obsolete ID cards: Expired driver’s licenses, medical insurance cards and passports.

Shredding is one way to fight identity theft; freezing your credit, monitoring accounts and using a password manager can also help.

The AARP Fraud Watch Network was launched in 2013 as a free resource for people of all ages.  The website provides information about fraud and scams, prevention tips from experts, an interactive scam-tracking map, fun educational quizzes, and video presentations featuring 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.

AARP is the nation’s largest nonprofit, nonpartisan organization dedicated to empowering Americans 50 and older to choose how they live as they age. With nearly 38 million members and offices in every state, the District of Columbia, Puerto Rico, and the U.S. Virgin Islands, AARP works to strengthen communities and advocate for what matters most to families with a focus on health security, financial stability and personal fulfillment. AARP also works for individuals in the marketplace by sparking new solutions and allowing carefully chosen, high-quality products and services to carry the AARP name. As a trusted source for news and information, AARP produces the nation’s largest circulation publications, AARP The Magazine and AARP Bulletin. To learn more, visit www.aarp.org/ny or follow @AARPNY on social media.

UPDATE: Apologies to Staten Islanders; the shredding truck broke down and we were unable to accept documents for shredding at our planned event on Staten Island on April 18. We will plan a new date for a Staten Island shred event and we’ll keep you posted.

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