Post Your Problems / Lawrence Walsh: Shred it and forget it

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It’s officially known as “Secure Your ID Day.”

It also might be called “Shred It And Forget It Day.”

It’s a free paper-shredding event that will be held from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Saturday in the parking lot of the Pleasant Hills Municipal Building, 410 E. Bruceton Road.

Residents and small businesses in Allegheny County and surrounding communities are urged to attend to shred and properly dispose of sensitive documents, said Warren King, president of the Better Business Bureau of Western Pennsylvania.

It’s one of the best ways to prevent identity theft.

BBB employees will guide cars through a moving line, unload disposable items — up to three bags or boxes — and shred them on the spot. Documents to be shredded should be removed from binders.

Participants will receive free goodie bags containing educational advice and tips for identity theft protection.

“Fifty-six percent of identity theft victims can trace the theft to something that was stolen from their possession,” Mr. King said. “The first rule of identity protection is: ‘If you don’t need something, dispose of it in a responsible manner.’”

More than 13.1 million Americans were victims of identity theft last year, according to Javelin Strategy and Research. It said that was the second-highest number on record and represented a significant increase from the 12.6 million victims in 2012.

“Secure Your ID Day,” one of hundreds hosted by BBBs across North America, is a joint effort with Pleasant Hills Borough; Business Records Management, which, among other things, is certified for the destruction of documents and hard drives; and First Commonwealth Bank.

Information:; 1-877-267-5222;;

Ask Doctor Debt?

Ever hear about

Me neither.

It’s a free website that debt collection professionals created to provide consumers with information about their rights if they’re contacted about a delinquent or defaulted debt.

“Millions of consumers per year may find themselves behind on payments and are contacted by a creditor or debt collector,” said David Winters, president of the Mid-Atlantic Collectors Association.

“While no one ever wants to get a call or letter telling them they owe money, consumers need to know they are protected by very important federal and state laws.

“Ignoring a creditor or debt collector doesn’t make the debt go away,” Mr. Winters said. “In fact, it can make the situation worse.”

He said consumers should be proactive by communicating with the creditor or debt collector. “It’s a critical step in finding a consumer-friendly solution.”

He said debt collectors are prohibited by law from disclosing information about a debt to anyone other than consumers or their attorneys. They also must confirm a consumer’s identity before discussing any specifics about an account.

Mr. Winters said third-party debt collectors work on behalf of their creditor clients to recover rightfully owed debts. But they are required by law to inform consumers of their right to dispute the debt and to provide written verification of it if a consumer disputes it in writing.

Mark Schiffman, a spokesman for ACA International, the Association of Credit and Collection Professionals, said includes frequently asked questions as well as answers to specific questions from consumers.

“We don’t ask consumers to register [on the website] or provide any personal information to ensure their privacy,” he said.

Mr. Schiffman said ACA International and the Mid-Atlantic Collectors Association, which includes Delaware, Maryland and Pennsylvania, “believe very strongly in consumer education.”

It highlights the work it does during April, National Financial Literacy Month.


Lawrence Walsh can be reached at and 412-263-1488. Please include your day, evening and cell phone numbers. Due to volume, he cannot respond to every email or phone call.

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