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Edmonton Police Service

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Empowering newcomers to identify fraud

For Immediate Release: 12-Mar-2019 @ 8:00 AM
MRU #: 19R029

This week for Fraud Prevention Month the Edmonton Police Service (EPS) is focusing on fraud prevention education for the city’s more fraud-vulnerable populations.

In general, fraud has no boundaries; fraud affects everyone – regardless of age, ethnicity, or location. But certain scams are targeted towards more vulnerable citizens: newcomers who have English as a second language. 

 

Last year, the EPS noticed a high volume of fraud and identity theft complainants were newcomers to the Edmonton area. To aid in the fight against these targeted frauds, the EPS developed a fraud prevention pamphlet specifically for new citizens of Edmonton.

 

This pamphlet will be translated into eight languages:

  • French

  • Arabic

  • Cantonese

  • Hindi

  • Punjabi

  • Somali

  • Tagalog

  • Urdu

 

All translated versions of the pamphlet will be available in the near future. Citizens will be able to access them on the EPS’ website, at all EPS Divisional stations, and the Edmonton Mennonite Centre for Newcomers (EMCN).

 

“Collaboration between organizations and the sharing of fraud prevention information and resources is key to collectively combating fraud. We want citizens to understand the kinds of scams out there that could prey on their vulnerabilities,” expressed Detective Linda Herczeg. “These scams are still affecting our city, so we rely on our partnerships and the public to share our prevention tips year-round in order to put an end to these frauds.”

 

Fraud Prevention Measures; Spot the scam:

Identity theft and identity fraud incidents occur when someone uses someone else’s identity for personal and/or financial gain.  If criminals obtain any document with your personal information on it, it can be used to instigate a fraud. The most common ways criminals can get your information is from mailboxes, your garbage, social networking websites, the internet, or through hackers.

 

In 2018 there were 149 reports of identity theft and 756 identity fraud occurrences reported to the Edmonton Police Service.  Of the 756 identity fraud occurrences 227 of the occurrences indicated money losses totaling $1,901,637.67

 

Fraud Prevention Measures; Stop the Scam:

 

If you do lose or have any identity documents stolen, report it to all of the following agencies as soon as you can:

  • local police agency;

  • Equifax Canada (1-800-465-7166);

  • TransUnion (1-800-663-9980);

  • Canadian Anti-Fraud Centre (1-888-495-8501);

  • If you lost or gave your social insurance number (SIN) call Service Canada (1-800-206-7218);

  • If you lost or gave your passport information call Passport Canada (1-800-567-6868) to report the details and to have it cancelled;

  • If you lost or sent a picture of your driver’s license in an email or text message to an unknown person call Service Alberta (1-780-427-7013, toll free or dial 310-0000 first in Alberta) to report the details to have it replaced.

 

It is also important for you to contact any company or financial institution that you have accounts with if that information has or may have been taken or compromised for example:

  • Bank cards;

  • Credit cards;

  • Membership cards such as Costco;

  • Utility providers;

  • Social media accounts that have been compromised.

 

Our identities are not just comprised when someone has access to or takes our identity documents.  In order to protect your identity:

  • Limit the identity documents you carry with you to your driver’s license or an identity card issued at a registries office.

  • Keep your vehicle registration and insurance documents in your wallet not the vehicle;

  • Keep your vehicle clear of any identity documents, membership or credit cards, utilities documents or any documents that have your name, address or account information on it;

  • Keep the following items in a safe place as you do not need to have them with you every day:

    • Birth certificate

    • Social insurance number

    • Immigration card

    • Passport

  • Do a yearly credit check through Equifax or TransUnion to see if anyone has:

    • Opened up a bank account in your name;

    • Obtained a credit card in your name;

    • Obtained utilities in your name;

    • Purchased a mobile phone and opened up cell phone account in your name;

    • Purchased a vehicle in your name.

  • If you receive mail, an email or a phone call from any bank, company or financial institution thanking you for applying for credit or providing you with a credit/purchase card you did not apply for find the correct contact phone number for that company and call them; don’t throw it away and ignore it.

  • Limit your online presence if possible and ensure that your social media accounts are secure. 

 

Further information on identity theft and identity fraud can be found on the Edmonton Police Service’s website.


The EPS reminds citizens that fraud prevention is continuous – we need to recognize it through continual education, report it, and stop it. We ask that you share this information with those in your life who may be a target for such scams.

 

If you are a victim of any fraud, please contact the EPS at 780-423-4567 or #377 from a mobile device.


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Please contact Landis Reichle at (780) 421-3508 for more information.

"Dedicated to Protect, Proud to Serve"