Since Oct. 1st, Red Deer RCMP have received reports of approximately 35 stolen vehicles, and at least 10 of those had been left running and unlocked or with keys inside; in several cases, vehicle owners were so close by that they saw their vehicles being driven away by quick-moving thieves.
Several of those victims also saw their wallets or purses drive away along with their vehicles, opening them up to fraud and identity theft on top of the loss of their vehicle.
In fact, between Sept. 5th and Oct. 5th, RCMP received 10 theft reports after citizens had their wallets or purses stolen from vehicles; many of those items had been left in vehicles overnight, or for significant periods of time while citizens were doing errands or using the park system. Some of those thefts occurred from parked, unlocked vehicles inside garages, while others happened fast, while the victim ran into a store or dropped a child off at daycare or school.
Most of the thefts involved numerous subsequent fraud and identity theft attempts using the victims’ identification, cheques and bank documents as well as their credit and bank cards.
“RCMP hear citizens talk a lot about their concerns about property crime, and we are working hard to deal with these prolific offenders, but we need the public to do their part, too,” said Cpl. Karyn Kay of the Red Deer RCMP. “Some crime is not preventable, but much of it is. If you leave your vehicle unlocked and running, or if you leave purses or wallets unattended inside your vehicle, your chances of victimization are high. And it doesn’t stop at getting your vehicle back or cancelling your credit cards. Thieves will use your personal identification to apply for multiple in-store credit cards, to apply for online loans, to open new bank accounts and even get a new vehicle loan in your name. Identity theft does tremendous damage to your name and your credit rating, and it can take months of time, stress and hard work to clean it all up.”
RCMP urge drivers to never leave keys or any valuables in their vehicle, even when it’s in a garage, and to use a spare key to lock their vehicle if they leave it running and unattended.
Learn more about making yourself a less attractive target for thieves at http://www.reddeer.ca/city-services/police-rcmp/crime-prevention/.
Learn more about identity theft at http://www.rcmp-grc.gc.ca/scams-fraudes/id-theft-vol-eng.htm.