March is fraud prevention month, and police are highlighting thefts to provide examples of why people should keep sensitive documents inaccessible by thieves.
Edmonton police urging everyone to protect their information after an investigation that recovered more than 150 stolen IDs. Police say officers entered an Edmonton apartment last month and found documents belonging to about 140 people. Credit cards, health cards, social insurance cards, “that kind of documentation, which was being used to produce fraudulent identification,” says officer Dehid. ”This is a solid example of some of the activity that we see but it’s on the higher level of what we’d get normally.”
In late January, police say, they were tipped off that someone was circulating $100 counterfeit bills. A search of a hotel room turned up cash, IDs, and documents that had personal information pertaining to unrelated individuals. Officers also seized numerous pieces of counterfeiting equipment.
“They try to get as much information as they can on an individual, so if they obtain your wallet and it has a birth certificate, social insurance number, they’ve got a real good start on applying for documentation,” says Dehid. ”They can apply for credit as that person, and that credit rating goes against you. That can be a difficult thing to rectify down the road.”
Police say technology is making the job of counterfeiters easier and theirs harder. “With printers and laptop computers, stationery from your typical office superstore, with all that stuff, scanners, printers, you can take the documents and try to make a decent replica,” says Dehid. Police want anyone who thinks they may have fallen victim to identity theft to let them know.
4 people have been charged with possession of stolen property under $5,000, forgery, possessing identity intended for use to commit forgery, possessing identity document belonging to another, possessing identity information, breach of recognizance, obtaining/possessing fraudulent identity information, and other fraud-related charges.