Avoid identity theft by shredding personal documents for free

The Community Shred Day is hosted by Milestones Area Agency on Aging.

Milestones Area Agency on Aging is battling identity theft with the community's first-ever shred event.

The Community Shred Day provides people with a safe way to dispose of documents with sensitive information on it. Any items with addresses, social security numbers or other personal information should always be disposed of safely to avoid identity theft. Even items you think may be safe to throw away can contain personal information, like offers for credit cards.

"If you do not cut that card up, there is information on there about you," said Joan Nydle, Milestones Area Agency on Aging. "So that's one of the things you want to cut up, just like you would any credit card, to make sure all that information is gone."

On Thursday, May 15 from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m., residents can take all of their paperwork to be shredded to the Quincy Place Mall. Financial statements, receipts, invoices and other personal documents will be shredded for you on-site by Heartland Shredding. Nydle said hosting the event this week is also a good tie-in with Make Ottumwa Shine week, which aims to promote cleanliness in Ottumwa. While many of those efforts focus on a building's outside, getting rid of the piles of paper in your home can make the building shine on the inside.

The event is free for everyone and there is no limit to how much you can bring to shred, however, they will not be accepting business shredding. All paper and magazine materials will be accepted, but cardboard will not.

Milestones staff will also be handing out information on identity theft and Medicare fraud for all who participate.