Operation Shredding will help prevent criminals from stealing your identity

ID theft victim works two years to clear her name

TAMPA, Fla. - Her credit report resembles a novel -- pages and pages of accounts Sandra Balkum had no idea existed.

Someone swiped Balkum's identity more than two years ago, yet the work continues to clear her name.

Balkum was working toward her master's degree when identity theft railroaded her life. The bogus accounts torpedoed her credit and cost her student loans, forcing her to drop out.

Hillsborough County Sheriff's Economic Crimes detective Joseph Maurer said it doesn't take much for a thief to ruin what you've worked decades for. He said one name, one date of birth and one Social Security number are worth at least $10,000.

Sandra suspects it was caused by mail theft or the leak of personal information from a medical facility. Regardless, she's stopped giving out her Social Security number at doctors’ offices and destroys every piece of junk mail with her name on it.

To help you fight identity theft, ABC Action News is hosting the Operation Shredding event. You bring up to five boxes of paper documents for shredding. The event is being held at Westfield Citrus Park Mall from 7 a.m. to 1 p.m. Saturday.

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