End of the paper chase

A chance to safely destroy sensitive documents and to prevent personal information from getting into the wrong hands drew hundreds of people to the Alberta Motor Association document shredding event on Saturday.

After waiting in the long line-up in front of the AMA building Saturday morning

After waiting in the long line-up in front of the AMA building Saturday morning

A chance to safely destroy sensitive documents and to prevent personal information from getting into the wrong hands drew hundreds of people to the Alberta Motor Association document shredding event on Saturday.

Each year the AMA works with local police detachments across the province to offer the free service to help residents prevent identity theft.

Last year three hours of shredding filled one truck in Red Deer.

This year two trucks were needed.

Art Blais, of the Gull Lake area, brought 10 years worth of old receipts, bank account and income tax statements.

One box was filled with six months worth of his father’s papers and letters.

Blais said his father has received dozens of letters from fraudsters who told his father he won millions of dollars but he needed to send money for to pay for shipping in order to receive the cheques.

“The trouble is at 90 years old he believes them,” said Blais.

“He would end up responding to these people and what a great way for them to do identity theft.”

Blais and the response cards have all the things that could be used for identity theft including his father’s signature, birth date, address and telephone number.

Blais’ dad lives in Edmonton so whenever they visit they gather the letters and the other sensitive papers for disposal.

Blais said while he and his wife, Beth, are careful, they understand in today’s world being robbed of your identity is a serious threat.

Betty McKinlay, of Red Deer, carted boxes full of old income tax forms dating back to 1981 to the shredding affair.

McKinlay said her late husband used to hold on to everything because he didn’t believe in throwing things away.

McKinlay has a small shredder at home but it doesn’t handle a large volume of paperwork.

“I am very concerned about identity theft,” said McKinlay.

“I am very cautious. My husband passed away in October and I took his passport office so they have it.”

One of the best was to protect your identity is by destroying all personal documents particularly those containing identifying information such as your address, birthday, social insurance number and banking or credit card information.

crhyno@bprda.wpengine.com