The fight against identity thieves is endless, as AARP New York knows — and the free shredding events it sponsored with Schneps Media this spring were just one way the organization is combating criminals targeting New York’s seniors.

Between April 26 and May 20, AARP New York and Schneps Media held seven shredding events across the Five Boroughs and Long Island, enabling New Yorkers to safely destroy their sensitive information and keep them out of the hands of criminals.

Identity thieves are known to mine through receptacles looking for receipts and personal documents to help commit their fraudulent crimes, which makes shredding anything containing your sensitive information so important.

AARP New York is relentless in its efforts to protect New Yorkers, and particularly seniors, from identity thieves, and the shredding events were only one step in their mission.

They’ve also held webinars with Schneps Media on helping New Yorkers avoid fraud and government scams, and recently published an insert with Schneps Media newspapers.

Wilson Guzman, associate state director of communications and engagement for AARP New York, said the program’s success has been in preventing crimes from occurring. 

“The best success story is a fraud crime that has never happened. AARP Fraud Watch Network helps people prevent fraud by safely and securely shredding documents at a number of our shredding events throughout the city,” Guzman said.”  This year over 9,000 individuals participated in AARP fraud and sponsored events such as telephone town hall, educational webinars, or on-site shredding.

The Fraud Watch Network, free and available to anyone, connects callers to reliable, up-to-date insights, alerts, and fraud prevention resources to help you spot and avoid scams and protect your loved ones. Trained fraud specialists are also available to provide support and guidance on what to do next and how to avoid scams in the future.

And Guzman says AARP is always looking to stay ahead of the bad guys. 

“Unfortunately, fraud is not going away. If anything, the fraudsters will only become even more sophisticated. But AARP is on top of it too,” he said. “We host telephone town halls with New York experts in the field from law enforcement and government. Our Fraud Watch Network, free to members and non-members, stays on top of the latest developments and alerts AARP employees in the field to pass the information to the consumer. Through the Fraud Watch Network, you can sign up to receive free biweekly Fraud Watch Alerts delivered right to your email inbox. And you can listen to our popular Podcast, The Perfect Scam. Visit our website at aarp.org/fraudwatchnetwork.”

You can also sign up with the AARP to receive biweekly “Watchdog Alerts” to learn how scams work and how to avoid them. Or, sign up for our Watchdog Alerts by texting FWN to 50757.

Also, here are some tips from the AARP on how to respond to identity theft:

Empathy

If someone close to you is scammed, it’s important to react with empathy. Don’t blame the victim. Instead, help them file complaints, deal with their financial institutions and work with law enforcement to catch the culprit. 

Monitor

Keep an eye on your accounts for anything suspicious. If you see something that concerns you, contact your bank or credit card company immediately. If you lost money, you can also contact your local police department. 

Credit Report Freeze 

Monitor your credit reports. To order free copies of your reports from the three major credit bureaus, go to www.annualcreditreport.com or 877-322-8228. 

If you suspect fraud, you should freeze your credit reports. Scammers can open credit card accounts, bank accounts, and loans in other names. A freeze restricts access to credit reports and prevents new accounts from being opened. You’ll create a PIN, which is needed to lift the freeze before you can open any new accounts. 

Here are the companies: