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Alberta

Police warning to families: Too much detail in obituaries can lead to identity fraud

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As part of Fraud Prevention Month, the Edmonton Police Service is warning families to be cautious about how much information they include in obituaries.

In one recent example, city police are investigating identity fraud involving one suspect who has allegedly used obituary information to commit more than 110 instances of fraud since July 2018.

Police say information such as a birth date or details about an employer may be all a criminal needs to steal your family member’s identity.

Suspects in these types of frauds use information provided in public obituaries to contact former employers, utility providers and other sources. Through social engineering (such as deception and manipulation techniques), they are able to gain further personal details about the deceased and use this information to commit identity fraud.

Police are encouraging families to take the following proactive steps when a loved one passes away:

  • When posting an obituary, do not use the day and month of birth of the deceased. Try not to include information on employment history or home address.
  • If acting as an executor for an estate:
    • Alert credit bureaus at the earliest opportunity, so a flag can be placed on the deceased’s profile.
    • Alert Canada Revenue Agency (CRA) and Service Canada, so a flag can be placed on the deceased’s social insurance number and CRA account.
    • Inform the financial institutions used by the deceased, as well as utility providers, including cell phone provider.
    • Monitor bank and utility account activity until they are closed.

In 2018, there were three additional investigations related to information being taken from obituaries.  The deceased’s identities were fraudulently used in the following ways:

  • A condo was fraudulently rented using the deceased’s name. The suite was then abandoned, and the rent left unpaid.
  • The deceased’s identity was used to sell a vehicle, open a telephone account and obtain a rental vehicle.
  • The deceased’s vehicle, containing a wallet with a driver’s license, Alberta health card, SIN card, debit card, and two cell phones, was stolen.

The individuals responsible were identified and charged with various fraud and identity theft related charges.

Obituary information is also used to commit other scams/frauds:

  • Grandparent scam – the fraudster contacts the surviving spouse and uses the name of one of the grandchildren listed in the obituary, as well as personal information they find on the grandchild’s social media sites or through internet searches.
  • Employment scam – through social engineering, the fraudster obtains the deceased’s personal information and uses it to acquire employment under the deceased’s name, thereby directing the income tax owed to the identity of the deceased.
  • Income/benefits fraud – the deceased’s identity is used to apply for senior’s benefits and pensions through the federal government or to redirect pensions or benefits the deceased was receiving to someone else.
  • Bank fraud – bank accounts, lines of credit and credit cards are opened in the deceased’s name.

Anyone with any information about this or any other crime is asked to contact the EPS 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.

Alberta

Alberta seeing spike in syphilis cases

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Syphilis rates way up in Alberta

Rates of syphilis in Alberta on the rise

Infectious and congenital syphilis rates have escalated across the province over the past five years, with a sharp increase in 2018.

The rapid increase in syphilis cases has spurred Alberta’s chief medical officer of health, Dr. Deena Hinshaw, to declare a provincial outbreak and encourage Albertans to get tested and protect themselves.

“We need to emphasize for all Albertans: Sexually Transmitted Infections (STIs) are a risk to anyone who is sexually active, particularly people who have new sex partners and are not using protection. I encourage anyone who is sexually active to get tested regularly. Anyone in Alberta can access STI testing and treatment for free.”

Dr. Deena Hinshaw, Chief Medical Officer of Health

In response to the sharp rise in 2018, a provincial outbreak coordination committee composed of Alberta Health, Alberta Health Services (AHS) and other provincial health officials has been activated. Over the next three months, the committee will develop a coordinated strategy and determine concrete actions to increase STI testing, promote public awareness and reduce the overall number of syphilis cases in Alberta.

“Sexual health is an important part of overall health. We are working with community partners to remove stigma and increase awareness about STI testing services throughout Alberta. If you are sexually active, make regular STI testing part of your health routine.”

Dr. Laura McDougall, Senior Medical Officer of Health, AHS

 

A total of 1,536 cases of infectious syphilis were reported in 2018 compared to 161 in 2014, almost a tenfold increase. The rate of infectious syphilis has not been this high in Alberta since 1948.

Congenital syphilis, which occurs when a child is born to a mother with syphilis, is a severe, disabling and life-threatening disease. While congenital syphilis cases were rare before the outbreak, there were 22 congenital syphilis cases between 2014 and 2018, one of which was stillborn.

Consistent and correct condom use is important protection against STIs such as syphilis. Like other STIs, the symptoms of syphilis may not be obvious. Health experts recommend sexually active people, regardless of gender, age or sexual orientation, get tested every three to six months if they:

  • have a sexual partner with a known STI
  • have a new sexual partner or multiple or anonymous sexual partners
  • have previous history of an STI diagnosis
  • have been sexually assaulted

Prenatal care including syphilis testing is available for all Albertans. It is critical that anyone who is pregnant seeks early prenatal care and testing for syphilis during pregnancy.

Anyone experiencing STI-related symptoms should seek testing through their local health-care provider. Call Health Link at 811, visit a STI or sexual health clinic or speak to a family doctor to find testing and treatment options.

 

Quick facts

  • 2018 case counts for infectious syphilis by AHS zone:
    • South Zone: 31 cases, an increase of 138.5 per cent compared to 2017
    • Calgary Zone: 206 cases, an increase of 7.3 per cent compared to 2017
    • Central Zone: 88 cases, an increase of 266.7 per cent compared to 2017
    • Edmonton Zone: 977 cases, an increase of 305.4 per cent compared to 2017
    • North Zone: 208 cases, an increase of 324.5 per cent compared to 2017
  • For further breakdown of STI 2018 numbers, see the 2018 STI and HIV Summary Report.
  • Alberta Health works with AHS and community organizations towards prevention, health promotion, outreach testing, education, harm reduction, and addressing stigma. Previous actions include:
    • Grants to the Alberta Community Council on HIV to support community organizations across the province to prevent and reduce STIs, reduce harm associated with the non-medical consumption of substances and support health in their own geographic locations.
    • Alberta Health has provided three one-time grants totalling a combined $2 million since 2017 to combat the rising rates of STI, including syphilis, focusing on raising awareness and education, reducing stigma and increasing testing and treatment.
    • Since 2016, Alberta Health Services and Alberta Health have been working with over 100 provincial partners to develop innovative approaches to increasing access to STI services across the province.
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Alberta

Semi Rollover on Highway 2 north causing delays

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Semi rollover on highway 2 near Leduc

From Leduc RCMP

Leduc RCMP on scene of a single vehicle semi roll over on Highway 2

On July 8, 2019 at 6:45AM Leduc RCMP along with emergency personnel responded to a single semi vehicle roll over at highway 2 Northbound near highway 2A.  

 A single male occupant of the semi sustained minor injuries and was transported to hospital in Edmonton via ground ambulance. 

Traffic on highway 2 is reduced to a single lane northbound major delays are expected in the area. A detour route onto Glen Park Road to highway 2A has been set up at this time.  The cause of the collision is still under investigation. 

Semi rollover on highway 2 near Leduc

At a later time today highway 2 will be closed for vehicle recovery.

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