SALT LAKE CITY — As Halloween approaches and with identity theft on the rise, the Utah Department of Commerce is warning consumers to thwart would-be goblins from accessing their personal information.
In recognition of National Identity Theft Awareness Week, the Commerce Department and Zions Bank are hosting a weeklong event to allow residents to dispose of sensitive papers by offering free document shredding at select branches throughout Utah.
“Shreddy Kruger” will also be on hand to remind the public that an educated consumer is always a scam artist's worst nightmare.
“Identity thieves are always on the prowl and they know that consumers make themselves vulnerable by throwing away documents containing their personal data,” said Tom Clark, senior vice president and retail operations manager for Zions Bank. “We’re offering these free shred days so that consumers can have peace of mind that their documents have been disposed of safely and securely.”
The Federal Trade Commission confirmed that identity theft has been its top consumer complaint for the past 12 years — with identity fraud increasing by 13 percent in 2011. The FTC reported 1,514 Utah victims filed identity theft complaints with the agency last year.
The Utah Division of Consumer Protection recommends that consumers not send any money through a wire transfer service unless the recipient is a trusted and known source. Also, the public is reminded to never give out personal account information, such as a Social Security number or other identifying information to strangers.
“Fraudsters earn their living by looking for new ways to steal your personal information through spoofing, phishing, and other identity theft related schemes,” warned Francine Giani, executive director of the Utah Department of Commerce. “Protect your information and your finances by safely and securely destroying documents and never give out personal information over the phone or over the Internet.”
For more information log on to www.consumerprotection.utah.gov.
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Consumers and businesses are invited to bring documents (paper only) for shredding during regular branch hours from Oct. 29 through Nov. 2 at the following Zions Bank branch locations:
• Foothill Office: 1304 Foothill Drive
• 787 N. Redwood Road
• 1622 W. South Jordan Parkway in South Jordan
• 12271 S. 900 East in Draper
• 5635 S. Harrison Blvd. in South Ogden
• 462 W. 800 North in Orem.
• 55 W. 100 North in Richfield.
• 40 E. St. George Blvd. in St. George