‘Identity theft is not a joke’: Local woman proposes township purchase community document shredder

KENILWORTH – Joy Lippai says identity theft is no joke, and many families suffer from it each year.

“Here’s a number I’d like you to think about for just a couple of moments, okay: 20 million,” Lippai said to council during a 15-minute delegation on March 25.

Lippai was referencing the heist of $20 million in gold bars more or less walked out from Toronto Pearson International Airport nearly a year ago, on April 17, 2023.

“How did that happen?” she asked. “Identity theft,” she answered, enunciating the words.

(According to an ongoing lawsuit, a fake document containing consignment details was provided to airport staff, who released the shipment.)

Lippai used the admittedly extreme example to illustrate the consequences of identity theft in her pitch for the township to purchase its own document shredder.

The concerned resident said she has done her homework on the issue; some of her research appears in a 25-page package presented to council, complete with shredder purchasing recommendations.

“The idea of an accessible shredding site is not just for my personal convenience,” she said. “The establishing of a shredding site would benefit the whole community. 

“In actuality, every community in Ontario, nay Canada, should have a shredding site to help eliminate the misery, loss and cost of identity theft.”

The retired paralegal suggested a committee be formed to approach and pilot her idea.

Councillor Steve McCabe thanked Lippai for her background work, and suggested that Crime Stoppers, which fundraises through its shredding events, run full-day shredding events in the community.

Lippai suggested the community shredding program is too limited to serve the entire community, and argued Crime Stoppers isn’t shredding documents on-site.

Shredding needs to be directly supervised, she said, adding it’s an “individual responsibility and requires personal oversight.”

Someone with a camera — “click, click,” she said, mimicking a camera sound – could take the info and sell it.

And besides, paper piled and waiting to meet its demise is a fire hazard, she argued.

Speaking of fire, McCabe said he prefers it to shredding for managing his-eyes-only documents.

At the Crime Stoppers events, documents are shredded on site by Wasteco. According to the company’s website, Wasteco participates in shredding events to “build awareness of the importance of protection against identity theft.”

Councillor Sherry Burke said the Wasteco shredders are paper-devouring machines taking mere seconds to eat through a box of documents.

“You have the opportunity to watch it go through or you can leave it … but it is shredded right on site,” Burke said, suggesting Crime Stoppers could extend the event, or run them more frequently.

Lippai wasn’t convinced and has since followed up with McCabe to discuss her proposal.

“Identity theft is not a joke,” she told the Community News.