The Better Business Bureau serving Eastern North Carolina hosted a "Secure your ID" event Saturday in Raleigh.
Organizers said the whole purpose was to help consumers and business owners safely remove items with sensitive information thieves need to steal an identity or commit fraud.
"There's a phenomenon called 'dumpster diving' were people go into garbage dumps, and they actually go through trash, looking for that kind of sensitive information," said Toby Barfield of the BBB of Eastern N.C.
The federal government says about 11 million people in the United States, including 300,000 in North Carolina, become victims of identity theft each year.
That means that every three seconds, a thief steals someone's identity.
There are 19 metropolitan areas in N.C. where the crime is most prevalent. Five of those are in central North Carolina: Durham-Chapel Hill, Goldsboro, Raleigh-Cary, Rocky Mount and the state's top location for identity theft, Fayetteville.
Authorities say the numbers are unreported. But they offer a number of tips to help prevent identity theft: