Guarding your PIN number at the convenience store and carrying fewer pieces of ID are just two ways you can prevent identity theft.

Shredding personal documents is another, and it comes highly recommended by a sergeant from Calgary Police Service Crime Prevention.

“We are trying to get across to people that information about themselves is a commodity,” said Wendy Mah, crime prevention co-ordinator for Alberta Motors Association, at a document-shredding event yesterday at the Kirby Centre.

USB drives, CDs, hard drives and other media contain personal information and must be treated similarly to your credit card in your wallet, said Mah.

“Identity theft is on the rise — Alberta has actually been statistically higher than the rest of the country,” she said.

Waste and recycling services asks those who shred their papers to place the destroyed documents into a clear plastic bag in order for it to be recycled.

If your identification is lost, Sgt. Dean Vegso suggests contacting the police, the bank, and any other issuers of the identification that went missing.

“By the time that victim realizes that their identity has been stolen and they call the police, sometimes a year has gone by,” said Vegso.

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