HILLSBOROUGH, NJ - The Somerset County Board of Chosen Freeholders and the county's Public Works Department urge residents to mark their calendars and start collecting documents for easy, no-hassle shredding, starting March 30.

Shredding events will be held on 10 Saturdays through the Operation Secure Shred program, rain or shine. The kickoff event will be hosted by Somerset County and subsequent events will be hosted by the county and participating municipalities. All shredding events are held from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m., or when the trucks are filled to capacity, at that time the event will be over for that day. Proof of residency is required (current driver's license, valid lease, tax bill or any other bill with a Somerset County address). Pre-registration is not required.

No businesses or commercial vehicles are allowed.

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Residents from all 21 Somerset County municipalities are invited to have personal documents shredded at as many free, on-site mobile paper-shredding events as they wish to attend. Residents do not have to reside in the town hosting an event to participate.

"Properly disposing of personal documents is a necessary step in safeguarding and protecting your personal information, credit and can prevent identify theft," said Freeholder Brian G. Gallagher, public works liaison. "We are pleased to be able to provide this very popular service to our residents again this year, in collaboration with our municipalities.”

Since the program began in 2007, more than 1.9 million pounds of materials have been dropped off for shredding by more than 26,900 residents, thereby keeping personal information out of the hands of unauthorized people who could potentially wreak financial havoc.

The kick-off shredding event will be held March 30 at the Somerset County Public Works South County Facility at 410 Roycefield Road in Hillsborough.

Nine subsequent events will be hosted by the county and participating municipalities as follows: April 27 in Hillsborough at Somerset County Public Works South County Facility at 410 Roycefield Road; June 15 in Bridgewater, at the Somerset County Public Works North County Facility, 411 Chimney Rock Road; July 13 in Somerset at the Franklin Township Sewerage Authority, 70 Commerce Dr.; July 27 in Bedminster at the Public Works Building, 75 Miller Lane; Aug. 10 in Bridgewater at the Municipal Building, 100 Commons Way; Aug. 31 in Hillsborough at the Somerset County Public Works South County Facility, 410 Roycefield Road; Sept. 28 in Branchburg at the Municipal Building,1077 U.S. Highway 202 North; Oct. 5 in Skillman at the Montgomery Township High School,1016 Routh 601; and Nov. 9 in Green Brook at the Green Brook Middle School,132 Jefferson Ave.

Documents will be commercially shredded safely, privately and properly by trained, licensed and bonded document-destruction specialists. Staples and paperclips do not have to be removed. Residents may bring documents in up to six boxes, containers or bags per visit and will be asked to take back their receptacles. Residents may stay and watch as their documents are shredded.

Junk mail, magazines and newspapers will not be accepted. This shredding opportunity is not open to businesses.  

For more information about locations of the municipal shredding events, contact the towns directly. A listing of towns in Somerset County can be found on the county's website athttp://bit.ly/SCTowns. A schedule of shredding events and more is available atwww.co.somerset.nj.us/shredding

For more information about the “Operation Secure Shred” program, contact the Somerset County Public Works Department at 908-203-6018 or publicworks@co.somerset.nj.us.

If you believe that you are a victim of identity theft, the FTC provides a comprehensive 68-page booklet titled "Taking Charge: What To Do If Your Identity Is Stolen" at http://bit.ly/IDTheftTakeControl .