Calgary Police encourage citizens to protect their identity during Fraud Prevention Month
With identity theft and identity fraud accounting for approximately 10 per cent of fraud-related occurrences reported to police last year, the Calgary Police Service is reminding citizens to protect their personal information and monitor financial records.
This week focuses on identity theft for Fraud Prevention Month. Last year, police received approximately 3,500 reports of fraud with nearly 370 of those being identity theft or identity fraud. In most cases, the reported incidents involved compromised debit and credit cards.
“It’s not always obvious if you are a victim of identity theft,” says Const. Jon Pye with the Calgary Police Service Fraud Team. “Often people don’t find out that their personal or financial information has been compromised until they are notified by their financial institutions, credit monitoring sites or creditors. That’s why it’s crucial to regularly check bank statements and credit reports. If you notice something suspicious, alert your financial institution immediately and report it to police."
Identity theft occurs mostly online, but it can occur in person too. Fraudsters can use someone else’s personal information to open a new bank account, take out a loan or even purchase property in your name without you immediately knowing.
Online identity theft usually happens when using public Wi-Fi networks, unsecure websites or having a credit or debit card skimmed. Sometimes fraudsters will sift through discarded bank statements or other documents, or steal mail to obtain personal information.
The Calgary Police Service is reminding citizens that if they believe their identity has been stolen, they can make an inquiry through a credit reporting agency such as Equifax or TransUnion. This will indicate if there is any fraudulent activity connected to their name.
While many citizens may experience scam phone calls, emails, texts or other forms of communication intended to phish for personal information, no criminal act has taken place unless personal information is given and used fraudulently, or a monetary loss occurs. Reports without indication of criminal activity can be made to the Canadian Anti-Fraud Centre.
Retrieving lost funds or repairing your identity can be a lengthy process, depending on the severity of the incident, which is why it’s crucial to spot and report any potential problems quickly.
Anyone who believes their personal identity to be compromised is asked to contact the police non-emergency line at 403-266-1234. Tips can also be left anonymously using Crime Stoppers through any of the following methods:
APP: "P3 Tips" app available through the Apple App or Google Play Store