More than 4,700 consumers in Washington state filed identity-theft complaints in 2013. AARP has teamed up with BECU, a credit union serving state residents, to help those in the Seattle area guard against fraud.
To protect yourself, bring personal documents and outdated electronics to one of three free shredding and recycling events on Saturday, April 18, from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. The locations are BECU Tukwila Financial Center, 12770 Gateway Drive; BECU Everett Financial Center, 11127 Evergreen Way S.; and BECU Federal Way-Pavilions Neighborhood Financial Center, 31411 Pacific Highway S.
You may bring up to three grocery bags or two banker’s boxes of documents, as well as unwanted computers, laptops, monitors, televisions and cellphones. Before turning in these devices, be sure to wipe out all sensitive information such as account numbers, passwords and medical information.
Deleting files is not enough. For computers, remove and destroy the hard drive or use a utility program to wipe it clean. For cellphones, do a factory reset and remove SIM or SD cards. The Federal Trade Commission offers how-to tips at consumer.ftc.gov. Enter “disposal” in the search box.
Go to aarp.org/fraudwatchnetwork for more information. —Dana E. Neuts