Calgary Police Service charges identity theft suspect, suspects there may be more victims
In the course of approximately five months, it is believed a Calgary woman has defrauded several local businesses and stolen multiple people’s identities. The Calgary Police Service Fraud Team has charged one woman believed to be responsible for these offences, and is alerting citizens there may be more victims.
Police began their investigation after it was reported to police that a loan application was allegedly made by a local woman who was believed to have stolen the identity of a local business owner.
It is believed the woman targeted the business, which was for sale at the time, and placed a deposit to purchase the business. She allegedly used information provided as part of the sale to then apply for a loan.
In a separate instance, the woman who was in the process of purchasing another business, was able to obtain the personal information of employees that was initially provided for payroll purposes. It is believed the woman used the employee identities to apply for, and obtain, credit.
As the investigation progressed, it was suspected multiple businesses and individuals may have had their identity compromised, which allowed the woman to continue to apply for and obtain credit through online loan applications using false identities.
When payments were due, financial institutions contacted the names provided by the woman and learned those individuals had never applied for a loan or credit.
Though the woman accused has been charged, police are releasing her photo as she is believed to have used multiple fraudulent identities when interacting with citizens, and her name alone may not be enough for citizens to recognize they may have had their personal information and identity compromised.
Ashley VENN, 33, of Calgary, has been charged with five counts of personation, five counts of fraud over $5,000 and one count of forgery.
Investigators have identified eight victims to date who were targeted by VENN. It is believed that there are others who may have also had their, or their business’ information compromised.
VENN is known to also use the alias Ashley CURRAN.
A photo of VENN is available on The City of Calgary’s Newsroom.
As this is an ongoing investigation, the names of the businesses and individuals whose identities and information were compromised by VENN will not be released.
The Calgary Police Service would like to remind citizens that if they are concerned about their identity or believe that 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 your name.
“Identity theft can be devastating for victims as their credit and finances can be ruined,” says Sergeant Matt Frederiksen of the Calgary Police Service’s Fraud Team. “It’s important to protect your personal information at all times and regularly check credit reports and bank statements. If you notice something suspicious, alert your financial institution immediately and report it to police.”
While many citizens may experience scam phone calls, emails, texts or other forms of communication, no criminal act has taken place unless personal information is given and used fraudulently.
Should a member of the public discover that their identity has been compromised, they are encouraged to notify their financial institutions immediately, and to also contact the Calgary Police Service to report the incident.
Anyone who believes their personal identity, or business information 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:
TYPE: www.calgarycrimestoppers.orgAPP: "P3 Tips" app available through the Apple App or Google Play Store
Case # 19512400/3699