BBB offers shredding event, travel tips

June 2, 2011 (NEWS RELEASE)

Crime statistics show that more than 8.1 million people became victims of identity theft in the past year making it the fastest growing crime in the U.S.

Hosts of the annual event include the Better Business Bureau along with the City of Chicago's Department of Business Affairs & Consumer Protection, Cook County State's Attorney's Office, Federal Trade Commission, United States Postal Inspection Service, Chicago Police, Illinois Attorney General's Office, and the Cook County Department of Environmental Control.

This year an electronics recycling service is provided by Vintage Tech Recyclers. TVs, monitors, laptops, PCs, servers, data storage devices, printers, fax/copy machines, cell phones, VCRs, DVD players, video cameras and game consoles are among the types of electronic equipment that will be collected for recycling at the event.

Participants are asked to limit the material they want shredded to 10 boxes of documents per person. There will also be a free home shredder given away every 15 minutes during the event. You may also visit to sign up for a chance to win one of two home shredders that will be given away online.

Representatives from the participating organizations will be on hand at "Shred It and Forget It" to offer guidelines for shredding documents and to answer questions about how to keep your personal information safe.

Here are some suggestions for deciding how long to keep personal financial information:

A good rule of thumb is to keep all tax returns and supporting documentation for seven years. The IRS has three years from your tax-filing date to audit, and has six years to challenge a claim.

Keep credit card statements for seven years if tax related expenses are documented.

Keep paycheck stubs for one year. Be sure to cross reference the paycheck stub to the W-2 form.

Be sure to keep bank statements and cancelled checks for at least one year.

Bills should be kept for one year or until the cancelled check has been returned. Receipts for large ticket items should be kept for insurance purposes.

Home improvement receipts should be kept for six years or permanently.

Items such as birth certificates, social security cards, insurance policies, titles or wills should be kept permanently in a safety deposit box.

If you are going to dispose of documents with sensitive information, be sure to SHRED!

More information about "Shred It and Forget It" Shredder Day can be found at once there, consumers may also sign up for notification on future Shred Day events.

For more information on how to protect your identity, visit

With 25% of Flights Departing Late, the Better Business Bureau Issues Tips to Ensure Safe and Timely Travel

Many consumers are beginning to plan summervacation getaways and may fail to factor in the uncertainties that come with flying, such as unpredictable weather, aviation system issues, and maintenance or crew problems. The Better Business Bureau (BBB) advises vacationers to plan ahead when traveling this summer to ensure safety and timeliness.

"To avoid troubles in the sky, it's important for travelers to be aware of their flight options," said Steve J. Bernas, president & CEO of the Better Business Bureau serving Chicago and Northern Illinois. "With the burden and chaos that can come from a delayed or cancelled flight, it's important for travelers to plan ahead."

Inquiries on airlines to the BBB serving Chicago and northern Illinois increased 104% from 1206 in the last 12 months compared to 590 in the previous 12 months. Complaints are also up with 94 for this 12 month period compared to 61 in the previous 12 months or an increase of 54%. Also, according to Bureau of Transportation's 2011 Statistics, 25.5 percent of all flights were reported to be not on time.

The BBB recommends the following to travelers when booking and securing flights this summer:

The early bird gets the flight. When booking your flight, remember that an early departure time may be less likely to be delayed than a later flight, due in part to the "ripple" effects of delays throughout the day. Also, if an early flight does get delayed or canceled, you may have more rerouting options. If you book the last flight of the day and it is canceled, you could get stuck overnight.

Know your rights with a canceled flight. If your flight is canceled, most airlines will rebook you, at no charge, on their next flight where a seat is available.If this involves a significant delay, find out if another carrier has seats and ask the first airline to endorse your ticket to that carrier. Unfortunately, compensation is required by law only when you are "bumped" from a flight that is oversold. Airlines may refuse to pay passengers for financial losses resulting from a delayed flight.

Secure your payment. Consider paying by credit card, which provides certain protections under Federal credit regulations.

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