Mississippians are being urged to protect themselves from becoming victims of identity theft. Saturday at four locations statewide, residents can shred their private documents and discard electronic devices.
Identity theft is the illegal use of someone's personal information to obtain money or credit. According to the Identity Theft Resource Center's recent report, 88 million people were at risk to identity theft.
Meredith Aldridge, with the Mississippi Attorney General's office said shredding private documents can help consumers avoid the commonly known way of identity theft called dumpster diving.
"Folks would go through trash that you have put on your curb for collection," Aldridge said. "They will try to find personal information in those papers that you have discarded. It's just like someone stealing your wallet with your account number that's actually on your credit card, if they have a statement that has the same information on it, will serve the same purpose for an identity thief."
John O'Hara, CEO of the Better Business Bureau said people are not properly erasing data on their electronic devices before reselling their items.
"There are people who actually will go to businesses and ask them if they have any old computers they want to get rid of O'Hara said. "They're not really interested in the computers, they are interested on the information in their. That's something both businesses and also individuals need to worry about. You just can't really get rid of those electronic devices without making sure that you've had a certified company take that information off. "
According to the Federal Trade Commission 91 percent of adults surveyed feared their identities could be stolen. Officials say it's important for consumers to check their credit report every year, to avoid being denied for home, car and education loans due to false information on their reports.