March is National Fraud Prevention Month and Valley First is helping residents of the South Okanagan to minimize the risk of identity theft.
In partnership with Okanagan Paper Shredding, the Downtown Penticton Association (DPA) and the Penticton RCMP, Valley First is hosting a shredding event, March 8, between 10 a.m. and 2 p.m., at the Backstreet Boulevard, next to Guerard’s Furniture.
The cost of the shredding, by Okanagan Paper Shredding, is by donation.
“Identity theft is a concern for all financial institutions,” said Jaime Lord, senior investigator for corporate security at Valley First.
”Shredding personal documents is a quick and effective way of being proactive.”
Valley First will also be accepting food and cash donations for Feed the Valley — their signature community program designed to raise food, funds and awareness for local food banks.
Valley First has committed to raising at least $1 million for local food banks over the next 10 years, and surpassed the $500,000 mark in July 2013.
Local RCMP officers will be on hand with tips on how to avoid identity theft.
In terms of crimes, Corp. Jas Johal of the Penticton RCMP Crime Prevention Unit said identity theft is a growing problem in Canada.
In the South Okanagan, Johal said they often receive calls from seniors reporting individuals, posing as nieces or nephews in dire straits, have called asking for money.
Identity theft through credit card information is also a concern, said Johal.
“If they can hack the computers of big corporations like Target, they can hack your computer,” he said.
“Even if it hasn’t happened, you should still beware, it could.”
For tips on avoiding fraud and identity theft visit www.valleyfirst.com/Personal/PrivacySecurity/FraudPreventionTips/.