Residents get ready to start shredding

By: K. Michelle Moran | Grosse Pointe Times | Published May 1, 2021

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GROSSE POINTE SHORES — Local residents with an abundance of unwanted personal documents can start gathering that paperwork to dispose of it in a permanent and safe manner.

Residents of all five Grosse Pointes and Harper Woods are invited to bring their old tax documents, bills and other papers to a drive-thru version of Shred Day, which will be held from 9:15 a.m. until 11:30 a.m. May 8 at Osius Park, 800 Lake Shore Road in Grosse Pointe Shores. Masks are required of all participants.

The cost is $5 per paper grocery-sized bag or banker’s box of documents. The Grosse Pointe Shores Beautification Committee is hosting this event in conjunction with Keep America Beautiful’s Great American Cleanup.

It’s the first time in two years that the Shores has been able to hold Shred Day, so Shores Beautification Committee Chair Helen Bai said many people have been calling the city because they’ve accumulated at least two years’ worth of documents in need of disposal.

“We are expecting a good turnout,” Bai said by email.

Only paper documents can be accepted, such as canceled checks, mail and bank statements. Credit cards, CDs, cardboard, paper towels, tissue paper and floppy discs cannot be disposed of during this event.

“There is no limit to the number of bags or boxes of paper to be shredded,” Bai said by email. “Receipts are available upon request.”

To reduce the risk of becoming a victim of identity theft, experts recommend shredding any documents with personal information such as a recipient’s name, address, birthdate or Social Security number.

In just the fourth quarter of 2020 alone, the Federal Trade Commission reported 471,410 reports of identity theft across the country. Perhaps not surprisingly, given the high number of unemployment fraud cases during the COVID-19 pandemic, the greatest number of these crimes — 235,849 — were cases of government benefits or documents fraud.

Local law enforcement officials are fielding more reports of identity theft from residents. In Grosse Pointe Park, for example, interim Public Safety Department Director James A. Bostock said that, while most types of crime fell in 2020, his department saw “an increase in reported … fraud and identity thefts” last year.

Bai said Grosse Pointe North High School National Honor Society members and their friends will once again be volunteering to help out during Shred Day, for which they’re able to earn community service credit hours. Bai said Shores Beautification Committee member John Pollick will be training the students.

New protocols have been put in place this year. Bai said the volunteers will be wearing masks and gloves, while participants need to wear masks to drop off documents.

“We are instituting other additional procedures to keep everyone safe,” Bai said by email. “For example, only one worker will unload a given car, instead of the usual two, to facilitate (social) distancing.”

No advance registration is necessary. For more information, visit www.gpshoresmi.gov or call (313) 881-6565.

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