Less detailed obituaries may reduce fraud

Edmonton Police advise they have investigated several cases related to obituary fraud

It’s the worst kind of opportunity crime, but having overly detailed obituaries may lead to fraud.

That’s the message the Edmonton Police Service hopes to get out to the public during Fraud Prevention Month.

“It’s an awful thing to have to think about when your loved one has just passed away,” says Det. Liam Watson with Northeast Division’s Criminal Investigation Section. “But unfortunately, information like a birth date or details about an employer may be all a criminal needs to steal your family member’s identity.”

Edmonton Police state they are investigating a July 2018 case where a suspect used obituary information to commit more than 110 instances of fraud.

It’s the information contained within the obituary that ends up helping suspects. Police say individuals typically use details intended to contact former employers, utility providers and other sources.

Read More: Cat-phishing tops list of Better Business Bureau’s 10 scams of 2018

“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.”

In 2018 police dealt with three other fraud cases related to obituary information. Those include that a condo was fraudulently rented using the deceased person’s name. The condo was subsequently abandoned and rent unpaid.

Read More: Rimbey home fraudulently advertised as rental property

In another instance the identity was used to sell a vehicle, get a telephone account and purchase a vehicle.

The third investigation involved the theft of the deceased person’s car, which had their wallet, driver’s licence, Alberta Health card, Social Insurance card, debit card and two cell phones.

“The individuals responsible were identified and charged with various fraud and identity theft related charges,” say police.

Edmonton Police advise following these steps to prevent fraud:

• 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.

Read More: Ponoka News receives Canada Revenue phishing scam

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.

• You may be asked to provide a copy of the certificate of death and a copy of the will identifying the executor to complete the above steps.

Other ways obituary information is used to commit fraud and other scams:

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.

Anonymous information can be submitted to Crime Stoppers at 1-800-222-8477 or online at www.p3tips.com/250.

Just Posted

Ponoka RCMP respond to intoxicated male in Golden Leisure Lodge

On May 15, 2019 the Ponoka RCMP responded to a complaint of… Continue reading

Town to sign five-year policing agreement with Ponoka Stampede

The Town of Ponoka will go ahead with a five-year renewable agreement… Continue reading

UPDATED: Ponoka RCMP arrest male on Canada wide warrant

UPDATE for Immediate Release: Collin James Courteoreille was wanted on a Canada… Continue reading

Town passes 2019 budgets and tax bylaw with 2.2 per cent increase

Ponoka town council passed a $25.5 million 2019 capital and operating budget… Continue reading

Killer of Calgary mother, daughter gets no parole for 50 years

A jury found Edward Downey guilty last year in the deaths of Sara Baillie, 34, and five-year-old Taliyah Marsman

Ottawa spending $24.5M to research health benefits, risks of pot use

$390,000 will fund two cannabis public awareness

Crackdown on money laundering does not include federal public inquiry: minister

An independent report commissioned concluded $7.4 billion was laundered in B.C. last year

Trudeau’s action plan on climate change brings B.C. politician out of retirement

Terry Lake, a former B.C. health minister, is running for federal office in Kamloops-Thompson-Cariboo

Survey finds minimal progress in Canadian military’s fight against sexual misconduct

1.6 per cent of regular-force members — 900 military personnel — reported having been victims of sexual assaults over past year

Body of missing snowmobiler recovered from Great Slave Lake

Police confirm the body is that of one of three missing snowmobilers

Is vegan food a human right? Ontario firefighter battling B.C. blaze argues it is

Adam Knauff says he had to go hungry some days because there was no vegan food

Winds helping in battle against fire threatening northern Alberta town

Nearly 5,000 people have cleared out of High Level and nearby First Nation

WATCH: Lacombe Generals celebrate Allan Cup victory with street festival

Hundreds come out to celebrate Generals fourth Allan Cup

Most Read