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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

The old paving scam is back – don’t fall for it

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August 19, 2019

 

Alberta RCMP warns property owners of paving contractor scams

Edmonton—This summer, the Alberta RCMP has received reports of several incidents involving paving scams in Western Alberta. Travelling companies, posing as legitimate contractors, offer paving or sometimes roof sealing services typically to senior citizens in rural communities. These individuals have been known to provide few details of their identity and utilize non-descript vehicles rarely bearing commercial logos.

The Alberta RCMP urges property owners to beware of out-of-town companies offering such services. The contractors claim to have leftover asphalt from previous jobs and promise to provide quality services. However, the product used is believed to be cold, recycled asphalt or a gravel and oil mixture with no lasting properties. This results in the asphalt falling apart once it is driven on. By that time, these fraudsters are long gone, disappearing with their payment before the customer realizes they have been scammed.

We would like to remind residents to exercise caution when retaining contractor services and if it sounds too good to be true, then it probably is.

Residents should be weary of any contractors who:

  • Come to your door saying they are working in the area offering a deal for leftover asphalt
  • Drive vehicles bearing no business names or logos
  • Pressure you into making a quick decision or refuse to take “no” for an answer
  • Ask for a down payment to buy materials
  • Refuse to give you a written quote with their business name, physical address and outlining the services they will provide prior to completing the work

Here a few tips to avoid falling prey to scammers:

  • Before agreeing to contract a person who comes to your door, get names of their previous customers and verify that they were satisfied with the work
  • Do some research on the company with either the Better Business Bureau in Alberta, with the Consumer Investigations Unit, with your local Rural Crime Watch or on social media site
  • Make sure to obtain a written quote from the contractor that includes the full business name, full address, phone number, GST number and provincial and municipal license numbers, if applicable
  • Ensure the quote you receive gives details such as the quantity and specifies the quality of materials being offered
  • Obtain quotes from local supplier as a form of comparison

The Alberta RCMP is working with the Alberta Consumer Investigation Unit (CIU) to counter this trend. If you or anyone you know have any information on these companies, please contact the Consumer Investigations Unit – North (north of Ponoka) at 587-985-4735 or the Consumer Investigations Unit – South (south of Ponoka) at 403-803-8229.

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Alberta

Energy Companies calling on average Canadians to make oil and gas top of mind for federal politicians

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Three of Canada’s top energy sector leaders are asking average Canadians to boost Canada’s energy industry ahead of this fall’s federal election.  The Presidents of Cenovus Energy, Canadian Natural Resources Limited, and MEG Energy have penned an “Open Letter to Canadians” urging everyone to talk to federal candidates about supporting the energy sector.

The letter makes a simple assessment of the facts surrounding energy creation worldwide and asks Canadians to back our own companies as they attempt to lead the way toward “a lower carbon future”…

Open letter to Canadians from:

Tim McKay, Canadian Natural Resources Limited,

Alex Pourbaix, Cenovus Energy,

Derek Evans, MEG Energy

We have big decisions to make as a country, and there is an opportunity for each of you to influence the outcome.

Canadians want to know what the energy sector is doing to address the global climate change challenge while working to strengthen our economy.

As energy company leaders, we believe Canada is ideally positioned to do its part to both positively impact climate change and ensure a strong and vibrant economy for the future.

This is not an ‘either’ ‘or’ conversation, it’s an ‘and’ conversation.

The world needs more energy to sustain a growing global economy that is expected to lift three billion people out of poverty in the decades ahead. We need more wind, solar and hydro, but oil and natural gas remain a large part of the mix too. This is true in even the most optimistic scenarios for the worldwide adoption of renewable energy.

The world also needs to significantly reduce greenhouse gas emissions.  But shutting down Canada’s oil industry will have little impact on global targets.  In fact, it could have the opposite effect, with higher carbon fuels replacing our lower emissions products.

A healthy Canadian oil and natural gas industry is vital in leading the way to a lower carbon future.

Made-in-Canada technologies that reduce emissions at our oil and natural gas operations could be adapted for sharing with other industries worldwide.  We are already making meaningful progress developing those solutions.

We’ve reduced the emissions intensity in the oil sands by about 30% over the past two decades, and a number of oil sands operations are producing oil with a smaller greenhouse gas impact than the global average.  We’re working to get those numbers even lower.

And Canada’s energy companies are the country’s single largest investors in clean tech.  Through organizations such as Canada’s Oil Sands Innovation Alliance (COSIA), Petroleum Technology Alliance Canada (PTAC) and the Clean Resource Innovation Network (CRIN) we are continuing to work on – and share – breakthrough technologies.

But we can’t do it alone.

And that’s why we are writing this letter.

As we head into the upcoming election, we are asking you to join us in urging Canada’s leaders of all political stripes to help our country thrive by supporting an innovative energy industry.  One that can contribute to solving the global climate change challenge and play a significant role in creating future energy solutions by developing our resources in the cleanest most responsible way possible today.

The choices we make will determine the quality of life we create for ourselves and future generations.  These choices will impact our ability to fund schools, hospitals, parks and the social programs that we as Canadians so deeply value.

This isn’t about any particular pipeline, policy or province. This is about the future of Canada.

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august, 2019

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