Fraudsters don’t want you to shred

What kind of information are you throwing away?

Though they are often overlooked and disposed of casually, everyday business and personal documents can contain confidential and sensitive information.

As we move more and more online—maybe even getting to that paperless office that’s been talked about for the last 20 years—the focus is on protecting digital information. But there are still many documents with identifying information.

That includes formal records, like legal and tax paperwork but also those loose records and papers that tend to linger around — even items you may not be thinking about, like shipping labels, boarding passes or resumes all contain information useful to fraudsters, and expose both people and businesses to identity theft and scams.

Recycling shipping boxes, either by putting them out for re-use or breaking them down is a responsible move. But shipping labels, often overlooked, can still contain addresses, tracking codes, work orders or account numbers, all kinds of information a fraudster would love to have.

Valley First is collaborating with the Downtown Penticton Association this weekend on Shed It and Forget It!, an event to educate consumers on ways to protect themselves from becoming victim to fraud.

“Identity theft is an all-too-common type of financial fraud,” said Kate Pederson, member services advisor with Valley First’s main Penticton branch. “Fraudsters can use your information to apply for loans, credit cards and even mortgages in your name, which is why shredding personal documents is an absolute must.”

Okanagan Paper Shredding Inc. is participating in the April 22 event, offering free shredding with a cash or non-perishable food donation to support the Penticton Salvation Army Food Bank and Valley First’s Feed the Valley campaign.

Attendees can also enjoy free coffee provided by Starbucks, and can be entered to win a personal shredder courtesy of Valley First.

“We’re thrilled to once again work with Valley First to bring this important event to the Penticton community,” said Lynn Allin, DPA executive director. “In addition to raising awareness around identity theft, Shred It and Forget It! brings together residents and businesses to create positive connections within the Penticton community, which is what the DPA is all about.”

Shred It and Forget It! runs from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. on April 22, beside Guerard’s Fine Furniture on Backstreet Boulevard.