Mark your calendars, then shred them afterwards; Upcoming free shredding events help prevent identity theft

News Release

Mark your calendars, then shred them afterwards

Upcoming free shredding events help prevent identity theft

In support of Fraud Prevention Month, the Edmonton Police Service is encouraging the public to properly dispose of personal and financial information at an upcoming confidential shredding event to help prevent identity theft.

“You don’t want your personal information to fall into the wrong hands,” says Staff Sgt. Dan Service with the EPS Economic Crimes Section.  “Too often people dispose of important documents in the regular trash or in a blue bag, and that’s when criminals go ‘dumpster diving.’ Identity theft occurs when these criminals use your information to commit fraud such as opening a bank account, applying for a credit card, getting a mobile phone, taking out a loan, or making purchases in your name.”

It is estimated that identity theft costs Canadians up to $30 billion each year, and it can take individuals years to get their lives back in order.  Thieves can steal your identity with just a few bits of information like your name, date of birth, social insurance number or banking information.  To protect against identity theft, it is recommended you shred all documents containing your name or other personal information, either with a home shredder or by using a secure shredding service.

“AMA shredding events are all about protecting yourself from identity theft by safely destroying documents with your personal information,” says AMA’s Chris Rechner.  “But we know it’s a very under-reported crime.  People are embarrassed when it happens to them.  We hope the events create awareness and encourage people to fight back by contacting the police.”

Items that can be shredded include:

  • Credit card slips, cancelled cheques, receipts, outdated tax returns.
  • Banking and investment statements, bills, non-solicited credit card applications.
  • CD-ROMs/CD-Rs/DVDs, diskettes.

Upcoming free AMA shredding events:

  • Saturday, April 11, 2015, 10 a.m. – 3 p.m.
    AMA South Centre, 10310 – 39A Avenue, Edmonton
  • Saturday, May 9, 2015, 10 a.m. – 3 p.m.
    Strathcona Athletic Park, 1100 N Cloverbar Road, Sherwood Park
  • Saturday, May 23, 2015, 10 a.m. – 3 p.m.
    Beulah Alliance Church, 17504 – 98A Avenue, Edmonton
  • Saturday, May 30, 2015, 9 a.m. – 1 p.m.
    Riel Recreation Park, Riel Drive, St. Albert
  • Saturday, June 6, 2015, 10 a.m. – 3 p.m.
    AMA Manning Centre, 5040 Manning Drive, Edmonton

Shredding events are subject to change or cancellation.  For more information, please visitwww.ama.ab.ca/shredding.

Kristi Gartner with the Electronic Recycling Association (ERA) also encourages individuals to properly dispose of sensitive data on computers.  “Most Canadians have old electronics piled up because they know they shouldn’t go to a landfill but they’re unsure of how to dispose of them safely and responsibly.  When they try to recycle these items, they forget there’s a whole host of sensitive data that can be used for identity theft.  Our goal is to stop people from recklessly throwing their data away and somebody else picking it up by destroying data on every device we receive.”

The ERA recycles computers and electronics by removing and shredding hard drives, and donating repurposed items to local schools, charities, and non-profit organizations.  Items suitable for donation include: cell phones, desktop computers, laptops, tablets, printers, monitors, televisions, cables or other specialty items.  Waste materials are recycled in an environmentally-friendly manner.

The ERA is planning electronic shredding/donation events in Edmonton this spring.  For more information, please visit or www.era.ca.

During Fraud Prevention Month, the EPS is highlighting identity theft and common frauds, as well as providing crime prevention tips in partnership with: Service Alberta, RCMP K Division, Better Business Bureau, Competition Bureau, Canadian Western Bank, Price-Langevin and Associates Inc., Alberta Motor Association, and Electronic Recycling Association.

If you are a victim of identity theft or fraud, or have knowledge of an economic crime, please contact the Edmonton Police Service at 780-423-4567 or #377 from a mobile phone.  Anonymous information can be submitted to Crime Stoppers at 1-800-222-8477 or online atwww.tipsubmit.com/start.htm.


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