Ballarat residents are being encouraged to reduce their risk of identity theft by destroying old bills and bank statements at a new community event, ShredFest.
A shredding truck will be at Central Square on Friday 27 May between 12pm to 2pm so people can shred unwanted personal documents for free.
The event will give everyone the chance to get rid of old bank statements, credit card applications, utility bills, insurance and health records.
Australians lost $1.8 million to identity theft in 2015 according to the ACCC, with more than $240,000 reported missing so far this year.
Some thieves go to extreme lengths to steal identities, including rifling through bins to find confidential information.
Ballarat locals contacted Consumer Affairs Victoria about scams 27 times in 2014-15, and 12 times in the first half of 2015-16, including two reports of identity fraud.
Consumer Affairs Victoria recommends getting electronic bills or statements to provide added security.
If you think your personal details have been stolen or misused, notify your bank, utility provider or other relevant organisation, and report it to police.
Inspired by a New York City initiative, the ShredFest regional roadshow will also visit Bendigo on the 28 May. The event was successfully held for the first time in Melbourne last year.
Quotes attributable to Minister for Consumer Affairs Jane Garrett
“Old bank statements, bills and health records are among the documents that contain personal details which scammers can use to steal your money and identity.”
“Ballarat’s first ShredFest will give people the chance to get rid of sensitive documents ahead of tax time for free.”
Quotes attributable to Member for Wendouree Sharon Knight
“Documents from Centrelink, banks, and a range of other organisations contain information that in the wrong hands could lead to identify fraud.”
“ShredFest is a chance for people across Ballarat to securely dispose of old documents that may contain personal details.”
“I’d encourage everyone to come along and shred their unwanted documents in a safe and secure way.”
Reviewed 19 August 2020