Editor’s Note: This story was written in response to a reader question submitted through our Open Source forum.

ASHLAND — Free paper shredding events have become more popular as identity theft grows in prevalence across the U.S., but finding such an event in Ashland is tough.

The last free event, hosted by Directions Credit Union on Cleveland Avenue, happened in May. 

It prompted one Ashland Source reader to ask us, “Where can I find places to take items to be shredded for free?”

Sensitive documents are just one way criminals steal information to perform identity theft, which happened more often in 2020 than in years prior.

The Federal Trade Commission’s Consumer Sentinel Network, which tracks consumer fraud and identity theft complaints, showed that 2020 saw 4.8 million reports — a 45% increase from 2019. 

The complaints led to the loss of $3.3 billion nationwide.

Ohio had the second-most identity theft reports in 2020 when compared to neighboring states. 

If you missed it, there are three events within roughly 30 miles of Ashland, organized in chronological order through 2021. The events typically allow around three to five boxes of free document shredding. Click on each event’s link to learn more:

• Aug. 14, 9 a.m. to 12 p.m.: Wooster Milltown Free Community Shred Day, Beuhler’s Fresh Food Markets, 3540 Burbank Road.

• Sept. 18, 9 a.m. to 12 p.m.: Shred Event, Directions Credit Union, Mansfield, 1690 West Fourth St.

• Oct. 16, 9 a.m. to 12 p.m.: Shred Event, Directions Credit Union, Shelby, 29 Mansfield Ave. 

If you can’t wait for designated events, there are other options — but they come at a price. 

The UPS Store, on Main Street, charges around $1 per pound. The store has a promotion now, though, that allows consumers to shred one pound and get one pound free. 

D-R Services also offers paper shredding at its Clark Avenue site for Ashland County residents. The business charges $0.23 a pound if the material is dropped off and $0.24 a pound if the materials are picked up by D-R, said Jim Hofer, D-R’s vocational habilitation and transportation manager.

You can also schedule your own shred event through providers like AllShred Services. 

A company spokesman told Ashland Source hosting such an event costs $750 for a three-hour, on-site event. AllShred brings a truck and the process works similar to a fast-food line. People can drop off five boxes of documents to shred for free. Any additional boxes cost $5. 

Call 419-381-7762 for more information.

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