The EPS launched an investigation into multiple incidents back in June 2018, involving equipment and vehicles being fraudulently rented and stolen from various companies in Edmonton.
It is alleged the suspects contact rental companies by phone, then fraudulently book vehicles and equipment using a business name familiar to the respective rental company.
Rental company staff will then prepare the vehicles and equipment for pickup on an agreed-to date and time. Typically, the equipment goes out without the “suspects” providing any sort of verification or identification to the rental staff company.
In June 2018, two super duty trucks valued at over $100,000 were fraudulently obtained from a south Edmonton vehicle rental business. In February 2019, a passenger vehicle valued at more than $30,000 was fraudulently obtained from a west Edmonton vehicle rental company, and another two trucks valued at more than $100,000 were fraudulently obtained from another rental company in west Edmonton earlier this month.
The orders booked over the phone are usually large and involve anywhere between $60, 000 and $120,000 of rental equipment including skid steers, welders, generators and vehicles. Similar events have also been reported in Fort Saskatchewan, Sherwood Park and Calgary.
Investigators are warning businesses to be vigilant and take steps to obtain and thoroughly confirm identification when renting out expensive equipment to customers.
Anyone who has information regarding this series of frauds is encouraged to contact police 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.