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December 18, 2014

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Metro offers paper shredding to thwart identity thieves

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Richard Brian

Josh Allen of Opportunity Village collects old documents during a shredding event hosted by the non-profit and the Metropolitan Police Department in the parking lot of the Northwest Area Command.

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Wallie Luna of Opportunity Village prepares to shred paper Tuesday during a document shredding event hosted by the non-profit and the Metropolitan Police Department in the parking lot of the Northwest Area Command.

Metro Police and Opportunity Village teamed up Tuesday afternoon to raise awareness about identity theft and consumer protection during a paper-shredding event at the Northwest Area Command.

More than 300 people came by the station with boxes of old papers and unwanted documents, said Paul Shlisky, of Opportunity Village.

By 7 p.m., the organization’s mobile shredding truck was filled to the brim with 8,000 pounds of shredded paper ready to be recycled.

Opportunity Village is a Las Vegas-based non-profit that supports people with intellectual disabilities. The group shreds 10 tons of paper each day, Shlisky said. They serve dozens of clients including Wells Fargo, Harrah’s and the City of Las Vegas.

“We can come to your business weekly, bi-weekly or monthly to shred documents on-site with our mobile shredding truck,” Shlisky said.

Everything from old credit card statements to medical records and 30-year-old tax forms were ground into tiny pieces inside the truck.

“When the economy does down, identity theft goes up,” Shlisky said. “White collar crime is what we’re trying to prevent.”

The damage caused by identity theft can take 15 to 20 years to clear from someone’s record, Shlisky said.

“You have to prove that you didn’t make someone else’s purchases,” Shlisky said. “There is no easy solution when you have your identity stolen.”

Kathy Perkins, a crime prevention specialist with Metro, said that many people don’t realize how often their personal information is exposed — whether it involves banking on the Internet, online shopping with a credit card or surfing the Web on a mobile phone.

“People need to be protective of their information all the time,” Perkins said. “Don’t just throw documents away haphazardly.”

For more information about Opportunity Village and its paper shredding program, visit www.opportunityvillage.com.

Jeff O’Brien can be reached at 990-8957 or [email protected].

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