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It's estimated Canadians lost over $290 million to fraudsters from January 2014 to December 2016, according to the Competition Bureau of Canada. 

That's why CAA Manitoba hosted their annual free shred day yesterday (June 18, 2017), to allow people to bring personal documents such as tax returns, bills, bank statements and receipts to be professionally shredded. 

They want to stress the importance of shredding these documents as opposed to throwing them in the trash or recycling bin. 

"The simplest way to protect yourself is to shred your documents and keep them safely secured at home," said Liz Kulyk, corporate manager of government and community relations for CAA Manitoba. "There's people that don't realize how important this is, so we want to educate people about why it's important to shred this stuff because it only takes a second or two for a thief to steal your identity and to get it back is very difficult and very expensive." 

Other tips CAA is offering to protect your identity from thieves include: 

- Carry only the credit cards you need. Cut up old or expired credit cards. Close all inactive credit card and bank accounts.

- Don’t carry your social insurance card in your wallet.

- Don’t use your address, telephone number, middle name, your mother’s maiden name, your birth date or any other personally identifiable information for passwords.

- Memorize passwords. Never write them down or carry them with you. Make sure no one is hovering over you and shield your password at the ATM.

- Adopt an attitude of healthy skepticism toward websites offering prizes or giveaways. Chances are, all that’s been “won” is the opportunity to buy something you didn’t want in the first place.

More information about this event can be found at http://www.caamanitoba.com/shredding.