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

Red Deer-Lacombe MP Calkins comments on CPC promise to make maternity benefits tax free

Tax credit would remove federal income tax from EI maternity and EI parental benefits

Sylvan Lake Community Partners helps families prepare for school

The Tools for School is in its second year, and has helped around 50 families

PHOTOS: Jazz at the Lake swings into its 17th year

The annual music festival ran over three days this past weekend

Town of Sylvan Lake looking at lake usage in new survey

The Town is in talks to contract part of the lake, but has to have a plan for water usage first

VIDEO: Title of 25th Bond movie is ‘No Time to Die’

The film is set to be released in April 2020

Liberals block hearings into scathing ethics report on SNC-Lavalin affair

Dion concluded in his report last week that Trudeau broke the Conflict of Interest Act

New ‘Matrix’ film set with Keanu Reeves and Lana Wachowski

Fourth installment to feature Reeves as Neo and Carrie-Anne Moss as Trinity

Trans Mountain gives contractors 30 days to get workers, supplies ready for pipeline

Crown corporation believes the expansion project could be in service by mid-2022

Ethics commissioner ready to testify on Trudeau, SNC-Lavalin: NDP critic

A new poll suggests the report hasn’t so far hurt the Liberals’ chances of re-election this fall

Inflation hits Bank of Canada 2% target for second straight month

Prices showed strength in other areas, including an 18.9 per cent increase in the cost of fresh vegetables

Alberta oil curtailment rules extended to late 2020 as pipeline delays drag on

At issue is ability to export oil in face of regulatory and legal challenges against pipelines

Nearly 50% of Canadians experience ‘post-vacation blues’: poll

48 per cent of travellers are already stressed about ‘normal life’ while still on their trip

More women may need breast cancer gene test, U.S. guidelines say

Recommendations aimed at women who’ve been treated for BRCA-related cancers and are now cancer-free

Most Read