October 21, 2005
I know which fork to use for salad, and how to make a proper introduction. But I'm stumped -- as I imagine most etiquette experts are -- about an upcoming event in Nebraska.
What do you wear to Shred Day?
Residents of Columbus, Neb., will be setting Shred Party protocol this Saturday when they're invited to cart up to 100 pounds of their most sensitive documents to the Columbus United Federal Credit Union for confidential and free shredding, provided by "Shred-it" of Omaha.
The event is designed to teach about the dangers of identity theft (and keeping old high school yearbook photos around). There was no comment from the 2,000 subscribers to dumpsterworld.com, though protest plans could be in the works.
Destroying documents with personal information -- such as old credit card and utility bills, trash-worthy tax documents, brokerage and bank statements -- is one way to thwart identity thieves.
But there's not much you can do when the companies that store and sell your personal information (ChoicePoint (NYSE: CPS ) ), serve as your bank (Bank of America (NYSE: BAC ) ), and even employ you (Time Warner (NYSE: TWX ) ) mishandle your files and let the bad guys take a peek.
If you're not too tired after your own personal Shred Party (here's a guide to trash-worthy stuff), take some further precautions to protect your good name:
- For a few bucks more, you can hire an electronic guard dog. The credit monitoring agencies -- including Fool Credit Center sponsor TrueCredit -- offer ID-theft-watch products that alert you at the first sign of trouble.
- Whatever you do, don't click that! (But you can click this to see how the hacks get you to give up your personal data.)
Dayana Yochimhas plenty of experience withgrand theft auto, but so far she's kept her identity intact. The Motley Fool'sdisclosure policyis secured by The Club.Time Warner is a Motley Fool Stock Advisor pick.