NEW MINAS, NS - Protecting yourself from identity theft and other forms of fraud is what Community Shred-It events are all about.
The Kings District RCMP and the Kings County Seniors Safety Program hosted a Community Shred-It event in the parking lot outside the Louis Millett Community Complex in New Minas on March 12. Members of the public were invited to bring old documents to be shredded and safely disposed of.
Kings County Seniors Safety co-ordinator Michelle Parker said this is their tenth year hosting Community Shred-It events. Identity theft is one of the fastest growing crimes and one of the leading types of fraud in North America. This is when someone steals personal information such as your name, address, phone number, banking and financial information, medical information or social insurance number.
“With that type of information, fraudsters are actually able to create a fake profile as if they were you and potentially apply for new loans in your name, credit cards or make medical claims and that is potentially more dangerous than actually stealing money that you have in your current account,” Parker said.
She said you used to hear a lot about “dumpster divers”. The term evokes images of people picking through garbage bins in search of sensitive information. Now, with a curbside recycling program in Kings County, residents put their paper in a clear bag and leave it at the side of the road to be picked up. Sometimes people don’t think first and dispose of documents containing sensitive information in this manner, leaving the individual vulnerable to fraud.
“If you don’t have a personal shredder at home or the ability to burn it in a fire, we want to make sure people have an opportunity to get rid of those documents in a safe manner, hence the community shred,” Parker said.
Kings District RCMP community policing officer Const. Kelli Gaudet said they usually host Community Shred-It events twice a year, once in March in recognition of Fraud Awareness Month and once in the fall. The events are free and members of the general public are encouraged to take part.
Anywhere from 80 to 120 people usually take advantage of the opportunity to have documents shredded. Gaudet said there are a lot of people who bring documents to be destroyed every time they host a shredding event.
Normally, there is a professional shredding company on site and documents are destroyed as soon as they’re handed over. The shredding truck wasn’t there for the March 12 event but people were invited to leave their documents in Const. Gaudet’s possession. Gaudet took the documents to the RCMP detachment so they could be safely and securely stored overnight before being shredded first thing the following morning.
She said the dates and locations for shredding events are advertised on the radio and in newspapers. Notices are also published on community and municipal Facebook pages.
For more information, call Kings County Seniors Safety co-ordinator Michelle Parker at 902-375-3602.