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EPS issues reminder of ongoing online fraud and identity theft

For Immediate Release: 12-Dec-2018 @ 8:00 AM
MRU #: 18-R132

The Edmonton Police Service has launched a new fraud prevention campaign to warn citizens of a variety of ongoing and evolving scams.

Over a five year period (2013-2017) the EPS has seen an 89% increase in reported incidents related to fraud, identity theft and identity fraud. In the first nine months of 2018 the EPS has seen a further 9.5% increase compared to the same time last year.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Reported incidents

2013

2014

2015

2016

2017

Fraud

3306

3792

4487

5461

5963

Identity Theft

44

93

103

169

169

Identity Fraud

339

466

548

692

833

Total:

3689

4351

5138

6322

6965

*Data generated on Nov. 16, 2018

 

The types of scams remain relatively unchanged. Fraudsters continue to pose as police officers and other government bodies in an attempt to obtain money from citizens. They often contact victims in a variety of ways, including over the phone, e-mail, text or social media – and in many cases these individuals often speak the same language as their victims and their calls may appear to come from legitimate police or government phone numbers.

 

“What has evolved is the method of payment demanded by fraudsters,” says Const. Tuyen Nguyen with the EPS Cyber Crimes Investigations Unit. “While gift cards were once the preferred payment of choice, fraudsters are now increasingly demanding payment in other forms such as BitCoin and e-transfers.”

 

Earlier this year EPS developed signage that was placed near BitCoin machines at cafes across the city to warn users that government bodies and police agencies do not accept payment for taxes and fines through BitCoin.  As the year progressed, police continued to receive consistent reports of online fraud and identity theft and felt additional crime prevention messaging was required.

 

 

 

“Front counter staff at several EPS divisions noticed an increase of reports of fraud and identity theft,” says Const. Kyle Pepper with Southwest Division.

 

“More specifically, we noticed the large majority of complainants were newcomers to the Edmonton area. As a result, the EPS developed a brochure that will be available at all EPS divisional stations and at other agencies that assist newcomers.”

 

“Our goal is to have the brochures developed in multiple languages in the near future.”

 

The messaging will also appear in multi-language ads across the city and online in 2019.

 

Citizens are reminded that government bodies such as Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada, Canada Revenue Agency (CRA), the Edmonton Police Service (EPS) and the Royal Canadian Mounted Police (RCMP):

  • do not threaten deportation or arrests of family members for non-payment,

  • do not demand immediate payment of taxes or fines over the phone via email or through social media; and

  • do not accept BitCoin, gift cards, e-mail or money transfers as a valid form of payment.

 

Do not provide personal or banking information by phone, email, text or social media as it may result in the loss of money and/or identity theft.

 

Anyone who believes they may have been defrauded this way is encouraged to contact the EPS at 780-423-4567 or dial #377 from a mobile phone. Contacting Equifax and Transunion, Canadian credit monitoring agencies, is also recommended.

 

If you have not lost money, but suspect you have been targeted, contact the Canadian Anti-Fraud Centre at 1-888-495-8501.



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Please contact Carolin Maran at (780) 421-3544 for more information.

"Dedicated to Protect, Proud to Serve"