Fraud cases reported to police skyrocketing in Edmonton

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Dec. 12, 2018 (Courtesy of ) – Incidents of fraud reported to police in Edmonton continue to climb year-over-year, peaking last year at close to 7,000 cases, new police data released Wednesday shows.

Over a five-year period between 2013 and 2017, fraud numbers rose 89 per cent to 6,965 from 2,689, with cases of identity fraud and identity theft more than doubling.

“Front counter staff at several EPS divisions noticed an increase of reports of fraud and identity theft,” Edmonton Police Service Const. Kyle Pepper said in an release.

The increase is in part attributed to fraudsters using technology like email, texting or social media to steal money from unsuspecting Edmontonians.

Police said that in many cases charlatans will often speak the same language as their victims and use technology to mask or manipulate where phone calls appear to be originating from adding an air of authenticity to the scam.

“While gift cards were once the preferred payment of choice, fraudsters are now increasingly demanding payment in other forms such as BitCoin and e-transfers,” cyber crimes investigations unit Const. Tuyen Nguyen said.

Third-worst province in Canada

The latest figures support numbers released last week by Statistics Canada that showed the number of police-reported cybercrimes in Alberta has more than doubled over a four-year period.

Behind Ontario (9,484) and British Columbia (5,603), Alberta (4,668) ranked as the third-worst province in Canada in 2017 when it came to police-reported cybercrimes, a new Statistics Canada report released this week shows.

The 2017 number in Alberta represents a rate of 108.6 cases per 100,000 people.

Alberta’s numbers have, much like the national average, risen dramatically since 2014 when there were just 1,638 reported crimes. That number climbed to 2,015 in 2015 and again in 2016 when it hit 2,891.

Calgary has seen one of the most dramatic increases in Canada, with cybercrimes rising to 1,706 in 2017 from 83 incidents in 2014. The increase in Edmonton has been more gradual, up to 1,643 in 2017 from 531 in 2014.