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Protect Your Identity Week Case Study

- Cintas partners with the CBBB and NFCC to protect Americans from identity theft and break a world record -

The Federal Trade Commission estimates that as many as 10 million Americans have their identities stolen each year. Identity theft is a growing problem and consumers are more vulnerable than ever if they do not proactively protect themselves. Consumers can be victimized by traditional forms of identity theft such as stolen wallets, pilfered mail and dumpster diving. However, they must also be aware of high-tech crimes such as data breaches, computer viruses and internet scams. Identity theft from employees at various businesses such as restaurants, retail stores and hospitals is also on the rise.

To help combat this alarming statistic and raise awareness about the dangers surrounding identity theft, Cintas Document Management partnered with the Council of Better Business Bureaus (CBBB) and the National Foundation for Credit Counseling (NFCC) for the third annual Protect Your Identity Week (PYIW). In October 2010, the three organizations joined forces to host more than 190 events across the nation. The events included free educational seminars and resources to help consumers and small business owners protect themselves from identity theft. As the official document management partner of PYIW, Cintas provided its secure shredding services at each event to provide attendees with a free and safe method to destroy their confidential information. In addition, to generate excitement and take a stand against identity theft, on Oct. 23, the organizations invited community members to help break the Guinness World Record™ for the most paper shredded in 24 hours. Anyone could participate by bringing personal documents they wished to have securely destroyed by Cintas to their local event. Participating cities included Irvine, Calif., Southfield, Mich. and Cherry Hill, N.J.

“Identity theft continues to be a serious problem in our nation, and we were thrilled to have Cintas provide their secure shredding services to consumers across the nation,” said Bob Ensinger, COO of the NFCC. “The ability for attendees to see their information get shredded into pieces on site gave them the peace of mind that their information was securely destroyed.”

Informing and Educating Consumers across the Nation

To prepare for the events, the organizations continuously updated the official PYIW website, www.ProtectYourIDNow.org, with event information, educational materials and resources to help avoid becoming a victim of identity theft. A detailed map was also available for visitors to look up local events in their area. Visitors could simply click on their state to access full details about the event and Cintas’ shredding services. From Jan. 1 through Oct. 31, 2010, more than 28,000 consumers visited the site. In addition, more than 6,000 Web site visitors utilized the Identity Theft Risk Check℠ quiz to assess their knowledge of security and identity theft.

To help spread the word, the NFCC, CBBB and Cintas distributed seven press releases leading up to the event reaching more than 5,000 journalists per release. The releases highlighted the week’s events, the Guinness World Record attempt, the PYIW website, participating coalition members and sponsors. As the national media sponsor, MSN Money featured PYIW in its Personal Finance section.

“We were delighted with the media attention and the amount of visitors we had on www.protectyouridnow.org leading up to the event,” said Ensinger. “Cintas went above and beyond to inform consumers and key journalists about our initiative and help generate excitement for this year’s event.”

Secure Events Engage Thousands of Consumers

During PYIW, Cintas provided its secure, state-of-the art mobile shredding trucks at each participating location. More than 24,000 consumers lined up to watch their confidential documents get shredded by an on-site, certified Cintas employee. All of the shredded documents were recycled into secondary paper products, such as paper towels, to reduce waste and impact on the environment. In doing so, consumers across the nation helped save trees, energy and water while reducing green house gas emissions.

In just one week, Cintas shredded 566 tons of confidential information - the largest amount in the history of PYIW. Further, using only three of the participating 190 locations, the organizations broke the existing Guinness World Record for the most paper shredded in a 24-hour period. Cintas shattered the previous record of 2,204 pounds by securely shredding 31,979 pounds of paper in 24 hours.

“We are thrilled that so many community members came out to participate and learn how to protect themselves properly,” concluded Ensinger. “With the combined forces of our organizations and Cintas’ document management services, this has been the most successful Protect Your Identity Week to date.”