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'Shred-a-Thon' rips into a major source of state's ID theft problem

By: Nathan Scherotter

July 21, 2007

Once-important documents ended up in shreds, but no one seemed to mind. It was all part of Arizona Attorney General Terry Goddard’s effort to rip into the state’s ranking as one of the country’s worst centers of ID theft.

On July 17, Kyrene Corridor-based Assured Security Document Destruction hosted a free “Shred-a-Thon” day as part of Goddard’s community outreach program, being offered at Valley-wide locations approximately once a month.

The program was put in place to help people destroy old records and papers that could be harmful if they fell into the wrong hands.

“The bottom line why we have these days is to fight against ID crimes,” Goddard said.

“I probably have over 20 years of financial records, and your own personal paper shredder will not allow you to destroy all of them,” he said.

“You really need help to get rid of your tax, medical and financial forms, and the dumpster is not a safe way to do this anymore.”

This is true especially in Arizona, which ranks in the top five among ID theft and at times has been number one, according to Goddard.

“We have a large number of seniors here, and the elderly are targeted more often,” he said.

Seniors aren’t the only draw for ID theft, however, according to Goddard.

“Arizona also has a problem with the use of methamphetamines, which is tied to ID theft,” he said.

“We are also close to the border and have a mobile population that exercises credit usage. Not one of these alone is the main problem, but when added together it creates a very big one.”

The Attorney General’s Office has so far seen success in this program, according to a spokesperson. More than 5,000 pounds of paper was shredded during the south Tempe effort, and the office already has next month’s location set up in Flagstaff.

“We are going to try to do it as regularly as possible,” Goddard said. “When we are able to get a company like Assured Security Document Destruction to donate a day, we take advantage of it.”

Robin Stamp, community outreach coordinator for the Attorney General’s Office, said people need to get the idea that ID theft and fraud are real and important issues. He sees localized shredding days as a way to get the local community involved and help nearby residents protect themselves.

“Until response for these days goes away, I see it continuing well into the future,” Goddard said.

“The only problem is getting the word out about when and where these days are.”

For information regarding upcoming Shred-a-Thons, go to and select the Community Services link.



Photo by David Stone


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