The Alberta RCMP is reminding people to be fraud aware as they address a rise in fraud during and relating to the pandemic times.
The provincial detachment says across Alberta, they’ve seen an increase in frauds, and more specifically COVID-19 related scams. Over the last year, they’ve addressed a total of over 10,700 reports of fraud in Alberta RCMP jurisdictions. Of that, 19 per cent were impersonation or identity-related crimes.
Breaking it down further, the top ten types of fraud the RCMP saw over that time were: fraud less than or equal to $5000, identity fraud, fraud over $5000, identity theft, theft, forgery, misuse of credit card, using a forged document, illegal possession or trafficking in government documents, obtaining food or lodging by fraud, fraud for obtaining transportation, and finally, unauthorized use of a computer for fraud.
The RCMP says people can prevent themselves from being conned by following certain steps. This includes researching anyone or organization asking them for money, buying from reputable sources and asking themselves if a transaction is too good to be true. If it seems that way, the police say, it probably is.
People should also avoid or ignore communication from unknown contacts, never send money via dating sites and not leave personal documents or ID cards somewhere accessible like their vehicle. Monitoring online banking can also help people catch something fishy before it becomes a bigger issue.
All this month, the RCMP will be putting out fraud prevention tips on their social media pages under the hashtag #KnowFraud.
If someone believes they could or have been the victim of fraud, they should call the RCMP or the Canadian Anti-Fraud Centre. Tips can also be submitted anonymously on CrimeStoppers.