Identity theft town hall: Shred your old private documents

American Data Guard provided document shredding at a recent town hall in Auburn that was hosted by King County Councilman Pete von Reichbauer. - Courtesy photo
American Data Guard provided document shredding at a recent town hall in Auburn that was hosted by King County Councilman Pete von Reichbauer.
— image credit: Courtesy photo

Mirror staff reports:

A town hall meeting on identity theft encourages attendees to bring and shred their unneeded private documents.

Sponsored by King County Councilman Pete von Reichbauer, the forum will be held 6 to 8 p.m. April 10 at Federal Way High School's auditorium, 30611 16th Avenue S.

Invited speakers include representatives from the King County Prosecuting Attorney’s Office, Attorney General’s Office, Federal Trade Commission, Washington Coalition of Crime Victim Advocates, and local law enforcement officials. To learn more, contact

National level

President Obama's 2014 budget proposal will include steps to combat tax refund-related identity theft, according to the AP. Click here to learn more.

Dumpster diving and check washing

Identity theft is the crime of compromising a person's personal identifying information and using that information to make a monetary profit.

The scams used to commit identity theft range in scope from simple to high-tech. Some basic methods include dumpster diving and check washing. Check washing is when a criminal intercepts an individual's personal check, then uses household chemicals to wash away the ink and write in a new dollar amount and payee.

Criminals committing identify theft using stolen or counterfeit checks are easier to catch if they are captured on surveillance trying to deposit the fraudulent check, according to a past Mirror report.

Local level

In October 2011, the Federal Way City Council unanimously approved the state’s first misdemeanor level identity theft law. The law allows for the prosecution of identity theft perpetrators when the damages to the victim are $1,000 or less. The new ordinance classified the crime as a gross misdemeanor, meaning those prosecuted under it could face up to a year in jail, a $5,000 fine, or both.

The law was created not in response to an observable spike in low level identity theft, but rather in response to the King County Prosecutor’s Office declining to move forward on such cases at times. Click here to learn more.


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