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OGDEN, Utah (AP) -- The warning to North Ogden residents that inmates were going through material left in recycling bins wasn't exactly correct.
However, officials are standing by the conclusion: Don't put personal information in the trash.
The city's recent newsletter to residents said, "Be careful what you throw away. All material placed in the recycling bins for North Ogden is sorted by Weber County inmates. To avoid problems, we are recommending that nothing with personal information be put in your recycle bin for disposal."
Inmates no longer work at the recycling job, but they sometimes do work at a trash transfer station.
About two years ago, the Weber County Jail had a contract for its inmates to work at a recycling facility, Chief Deputy Jerry Cook said.
There wasn't enough time for someone to grab a tossed-out credit card offer or any other trash containing sensitive information, Cook said.
The contract ran out and was not renewed.
However, Cook said inmates have been placed in various work programs in Weber County, including one at the Weber County Transfer Station. The transfer station is a final stopping place for various trash items before they are packed on railroad cars and taken to landfills.
Ogden Detective Dave Weloth, said, "If the citizens are shredding sensitive documents, it doesn't matter," he says.
Sensitive documents include old checks, checks from closed accounts and preapproved credit-card offers.
Weloth said people need to remember that people who are out there to commit identity theft are not conventional people.
"They don't think twice about sifting through garbage or piles of garbage at landfill," he said, adding that most these people are drug users seeking a short-term profit.
The easiest way to take care of any sensitive papers is to shred them, officials agreed.
(Copyright 2004 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)