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Personal and Financial Robbery

Robbery offenders are often addicted or dependent on drugs and are committing these crimes to get money to buy drugs. They can be desperate and unpredictable.

While It may not be possible to prevent a personal robbery, there are some ways that you can minimize the risks:

  • Pick safe routes to get to your destination
  • Plan ahead, and let someone know where you are going and for how long
  • If you are walking after dark, take routes that are well lit and are well populated
  • If you’re using transit, stand or ride near others - do not isolate yourself
  • If you’re driving, avoid parking in an isolated area. Park in a well-lit, highly-visible, high-traffic area
  • Scan the surroundings as you walk or approach or leave your vehicle. If possible, walk with another person
  • If you’re carrying small personal electronics, like an iPod, conceal it under your clothes. These are targets for would-be thieves who can easily sell or exchange the device for drugs.
  • Keep your keys ready when walking to your vehicle or home, so that you can get in to your vehicle or home promptly
  • Lock the doors of your vehicle while you are inside. Don’t open your doors or roll down your windows if an unknown person approaches to ask you something
  • Keep your vehicle in good working condition, especially in winter months, to reduce the chance of breaking down and stopping
  • Call out for help in an emergency, and carry a cell phone with you
  • Report a personal robbery, or any suspicious persons, vehicles, or activities to police as soon as possible

Use your best judgement if confronted with violence and your safety is at risk. Remember that your personal safety is more valuable than your vehicle or other personal belongings.

The Edmonton Police Service has put in place several changes to address this issue. We are working closely with the Crown and its attorneys to put a stop to violent crimes that victimize innocent citizens. Some changes include:

  • focusing on repeat offenders going through the court system;
  • involving the community in crime prevention initiatives;
  • increasing preventative police patrols; and
  • enhancing crime analysis to help investigators find and charge persons responsible.

Protecting your debit and credit card

When your banking card(s) are compromised, your identity is left vulnerable as well. Banking institutations are helping reduce the possibility of someone using your cards by instating chip cards. However, criminals are still succeeding in this crime. So, here are some very important tips to help you keep your money and your identity safe.

  • Always know where your credit and debit cards are. Do not leave them in your vehicle. Do not have more credit cards than you need. More cards result in greater loss if they are used when stolen.
  • Record your credit card numbers, the issuing institutions and phone numbers to call if you have to cancel the cards. Do not keep this in your wallet or purse. Never keep your P.I.N. numbers where your cards are kept.
  • If someone can access your personal information and credit cards, they can steal your credit identity. Don’t keep personal information - driver’s license, birth certificate, S.I.N., wedding license etc. - with your credit or debit cards.
  • If a card is lost or stolen, report the incident immediately to your credit card company and the police.
  • Do not share your P.I.N. number with anyone. If you have shared your P.I.N. you may not receive reimbursement from the card provider. Changing your P.I.N. often reduces or eliminates possible losses.
  • Do not lose sight of your credit card when shopping. Someone may swipe your card twice.
  • When using a banking card, shield the pin pad.
  • Examine pin pads for signs of tampering. Only use a pin pad that is secured by a cable or locking device.
  • When using a debit machine, take note of your surroundings. Make sure you are comfortable with the people you see. Use common sense.
  • Check your statements every month and confirm the purchases are yours. Many institutions have a loss claim time limit. 

Identity Theft

What is identity theft? What are the impacts?

  • Identity theft refers to any crime in which someone wrongfully obtains and uses another person’s identity to commit frauds or other criminal activities.
  • Once stolen, a victim’s identity is used to create bank loans, cell phone contracts, mortgage applications, major purchases, etc.
  • Identity theft can involve:
    • Theft of credit cards and other government documents;
    • Skimming;
    • Dumpster diving;
    • Shoulder surfing;
    • Email and website spoofing; and
    • Mail theft.

  • In 2009, the Canadian Anti-Fraud Center (CAFC) received over 11,000 reports of identity theft, totalling a loss of more than 10 million dollars.
  • Most victims are unaware that their personal information has been stolen. It can take months or years to be rid of an identity thief. Identity theft can result in:
    • Destroyed credit status - resulting in loan and credit card refusal
    • Criminal record - Victims discover that they have criminal records as the identity thief used the victim’s identity when arrested.
    • Denial of employment or promotion - For position requiring a background check. If a criminal has committed a crime with your identity, you may not get the job/promotion.
    • Psychological scars - Victims may become hyper vigilant, feel angry, vulnerable, helpless or violated.

How can someone reduce the risk of identity theft on a daily basis?

  • Be credit card safe - Never carry more credit cards then necessary and cancel all credit cards that you no longer use.
  • Protect your PIN - When entering your PIN scan your surroundings. Be sure that no one can see it.
  • Safeguard personal information - Never carry your SIN card or birth certificate. Provide personal information only when you have initiated the contact or you know who you are dealing with. Be cautious and smart about personal information that you publish on any social networking site.
  • Change passwords frequently - You may be compromised and not know – minimize your risk.
  • Review your records regularly - Check your bank and credit card statements when they arrive and report any discrepancies.
  • Protect your passwords - Use different passwords for your credit card, bank and telephone accounts.
  • Don’t take any chances with your personal information: shred it - don’t share it! Shred all credit card receipts, utility bills or documents that contain personal details. If you're not sure if you should shred something, shred it! When you change your address, ensure that you contact Canada Post and all relevant financial institutions.
  • Shred all credit card receipts, utility bills or documents that contain personal details. If you're not sure if you should shred something, shred it! When you change your address, ensure that you contact Canada Post and all relevant financial institutions.
  • Keep your computer safe - Install a firewall to prevent outsiders from accessing your data.
  • Be credit card safe - Never carry more credit cards then necessary and cancel all credit cards that you no longer use.
  • Be vigilant.

If someone is a victim of identity theft what should they do?

Signs you could be a victim:

  • You receive credit card bills for cards you did not apply for;
  • You no longer receive credit card statements or notice that not all your mail is getting delivered; or
  • A collection agency contacts you about purchases or accounts that you never opened.

What to do:

  • Contact all credit grantors and banks and have your accounts red flagged.
  • File a report with your local police department.
  • Advise a credit reporting agency like the ones below:


Large and small businesses rely on Equifax for consumer and business credit intelligence, portfolio management, fraud detection, decisioning technology and marketing tools. They help individuals manage their personal credit information, protect their identity and maximize their financial well-being.

Equifax was founded in 1899 and maintains information on over 400 million credit holders world wide. Equifax is based in Atlanta, Georgia with over 7,000 employees in 14 countries.



With national headquarters in Toronto, Ontario, Transunion was formed in 1989. They operate in over 25 countries across five continents. Transunion delivers educational information and tools to help consumers gain a clear understanding of their credit history, the impact of their financial behaviour and help guard against identity theft and financial fraud.