Edmonton Police Service is alerting the public of the severity of identity fraud in the city, after over 100 victims reported losses of over $1.03 million in 2019.
“In 2019 there were 986 reports of identity fraud, and 161 victims reported an overall loss of $1,032,839.25,” said a release from EPS.
“Although most had no monetary loss, victims had their personal and financial information used to commit additional frauds.”
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EPS says that mail thieves operate on multiple levels and can get lucky by breaking into mailboxes at just the right time.
An Edmontonian named Leanne fell victim to identity theft after multiple accounts were opened in her name at banks she did not use. While she did not lose money because she quickly reported it to her bank, it took up valuable time having to individually report each account under her name.
“Some financial institutions and businesses can provide temporary cards for their customer to use for a set time, with a set limit, until their official card is mailed to them,” said Detective Linda Herczeg.
“And if the suspect has assumed someone else’s identity, the institution has no reason to suspect foul play. Unfortunately for innocent victims like Leanne, this has allowed fraudsters to open accounts in her name,” said Herczeg.
With tax season upon us, the Canada Revenue Agency suggests citizens actively monitor their online CRA accounts for suspicious activity.
“To protect yourself against identity theft, you can now sign up for email notifications in your online CRA account,” explained TJ Madigan, Communications Manager for the Canada Revenue Agency.
“This will trigger an automatic alert if any major changes are made to your file, including notifications if your mailing address is updated or if someone modifies your direct deposit information for refunds and credits.”
EPS also reminds citizens of the importance of picking up your mail regularly. If you are going on vacation, have your mail forwarded to a Canada Post location or have a trusted person pick it up for you.