To raise awareness of identity theft, the AARP recently held a free community shredding event at its Community Resource Center on Carrollton Avenue.

A truck-size shredder from Shred-It USA gave residents a way to dispose of their confidential papers. AARP suggests shredding financial statements, canceled checks, credit card statements and credit card pre-approval letters, payroll stubs, insurance forms, old tax returns, forms from doctor’s offices and more.

AARP estimates that every year, more than 8 million Americans fall victim to identity theft, costing over $40 billion dollars annually. Americans over 50 are the fastest-growing segment of computer and Internet users, it says, adding that, according to the FBI, these older people are also more of a likely target for Internet fraud.

The Better Business Bureau also offers a way to help avoid becoming a victim of fraud. It has launched the BBB Scam Tracker as a place to report scams and to warn others of malicious or suspicious activities. Data from Canada and the United States is being shared with law enforcement agencies to help identify and prosecute scammers. The free online interactive tool, found at, offers a heat map showing where scams are being reported and users can use a variety of filters to see what’s going on in their areas. Users can report scams that they hear about, whether or not they have fallen victim.