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Community West Bank Offering Free Document Shredding

Goleta event is one several planned to help the community thwart identify thieves

In an effort to battle identity theft, Community West Bank is hosting free document-shredding events in Goleta, Santa Maria, Ventura and Westlake Village.

The public is invited to bring personal documents from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. Oct. 8 for secure shredding at Community West Bank’s Goleta branch, 5827 Hollister Ave.

Call the bank at 805.692.5821 for information about the other shredding events.

Documents will be shredded at the bank, courtesy of ShredRite. Participants are limited to two boxes of documents for shredding.

“Identity theft is on the rise, affecting about 10 million victims a year,” said Lynda Nahra, Community West Bank president and chief executive officer. “It is crucial that consumers and businesses alike take the precautions necessary to protect their good name. Shredding personal documents is one small, but powerful step.”

Participants will have the opportunity to pick up information from Santa Barbara County Sheriff’s Department employees, who will be on hand to explain measures that should be taken to guard against identity theft and fraud.

“Since 2000, there have been 1.8 million identity-theft complaints made to the Federal Trade Commission,” said Pamela Relyea, crime prevention specialist with the Sheriff’s Department. “With reports as high as 9 million victims, the average cost of ID theft increased in 2008 to an average of $500.”

With identity theft so complex, Relyea said, the Sheriff’s Department is striving to fight it by educating the community to keep personal information safe and to make it more difficult for thieves. The department also is trying to deter identity theft and fraud crimes with aggressive prosecution while helping victims with recovery.

Noozhawk business writer Ray Estrada can be reached at .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address). Follow Noozhawk on Twitter: @noozhawk or @NoozhawkNews.

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