On Sunday, June 20, 2021, the EPS received a report about fake auto insurance. It was reported to police that the citizen had purchased auto insurance through a local broker, Almarta Brokers; however, when they contacted the insurance provider to update their information, they were informed that they did not have auto insurance with the provider.
Since then, police have been made aware of seven additional reports of fake auto insurance purchased through the same brokers. In each case, correspondence with the brokers reportedly took place via emails and text messages only, payment was completed via e-transfer and complainants received insurance documents that looked identical to those from a valid insurance provider. To date, officers believe more than $10,000 has been defrauded from citizens.
Officers continue to investigate these incidents and are encouraging anyone who believes they have been scammed by Almarta Brokers to contact the EPS at 780-423-4567 or #377 from a mobile phone. Anonymous information can also be submitted to Crime Stoppers at 1-800-222-8477 or online at www.p3tips.com/250.
When purchasing insurance with a broker, police are advising citizens to be mindful of:
- Brokers who communicate only via email or text message. Most auto insurance brokers will be able to speak with clients in person, online or via phone.
- Brokers who accept payment through e-transfer only. Insurance providers typically accept payment monthly or yearly and only via direct debit from your bank or credit card.
- Rates or incentives that are significantly better than others. It’s uncommon for providers to offer deals such as buy two months, get one free.
- Broker and insurance provider addresses. Check the address of the insurance broker and insurance provider to make sure they are associated with a real physical place, such as an office.