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

Smash hit musical coming to life in Bashaw

Junior high students to present intense production of Lion King: The Musical

Options being researched in dealing with fire codes

Bashaw needs solution soon to lack of fire safety codes officer

Some new things to razzle and dazzle with

Bashaw’s annual summer event being freshened up a bit

Alberta premier says provincial carbon tax will die May 30

Kenney won Alberta’s election last month on a platform that included repealing the provincial carbon tax

UPDATE: B.C. pilot killed in Honduras plane crash

The crash happened in the Roatan Islands area, according to officials

‘Rope-a-dope’: Environmentalists say Alberta war room threat won’t distract them

Those against Alberta Premier Jason Kenney aren’t worried about promise to fight critics of energy industry

Almost $13 million to be paid to Grande Prairie hospital subcontractors, others

No reasons for the Court of Queen’s Bench order were released

Canada’s parole officers say correctional system has reached breaking point

About half of Canada’s federal parole officers work inside penitentiaries and correctional institutions

Speed, alcohol considered factors in deadly Calgary crash: police

Two female passengers in the Corolla, aged 31 and 65, died at the scene

Montreal researchers create audible hockey puck for visually impaired players

Three years ago, Gilles Ouellet came up with the idea for a puck that makes a continuous sound

‘What’s your number?’: Advocates urge Canadians to check their blood pressure

May 17 is World Hypertension Day, marked to spread awareness on the risks of high blood pressure

National Impaired Driving Enforcement Day is May 18

Alberta RCMP participates in Canada Road Safety Week during Victoria Day long weekend

Alberta issues fire ban in northern part of province due to wildfire threat

The government says the decision was made due to the growing threat of wildfires

Most Read