LETHBRIDGE, Alta. - Police in Alberta have charged three people from Quebec with a province wide fraud scheme.
Lethbridge police arrested two men and a woman at a city bank last Thursday after an employee became suspicious.
Investigators allege the trio had hacked computers to steal identification documents then travelled west to impersonate Albertans and steal their money.
More than $88,000 was stolen using forged bank cards at banks and loan companies in Lethbridge, Calgary and four other communities in southern Alberta.
The offences date back to late September.
Sgt. Christy Woods said Wednesday that it's an intricate scam that has hit Alberta before.
"We can't say it's directly related to organized crime but we can say it is an organized group."
She said group members travel with various fake IDs made for them with several different names. "They're flown to certain cities and they disperse in groups and they do this in a calculated manner."
Charged are 27-year-old Johnson Egalite of Laval and Priscilla Chalifoux, 19, and Sylvain John Boutros, 22, both of Montreal.
(CJOC, The Canadian Press)
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Be careful with sharing your most basic information, such as full name and date of birth in your profile. As well, limit children's names, pet names and nicknames, which are often the basis for passwords and PIN numbers. You never know who might be out there trying to steal your identity.
Register To Vote At Your Current Address
If you’re not registered, a criminal could register you at another address. When you move homes, always deregister and re-register at the new one. That way, the people who move into your previous home can’t offer apparent proof that they are you.
Check Your Credit Report Often
Check your borrowings and repayment record to spot unfamiliar accounts and activity.
Keep Your Computer/Tablet/Phone Secure
Keep your antivirus software up to day and have a firewall running. As well, if you carry a laptop, tablet or phone don't leave it in your car or other places it may be tempting to thieves.
Know Your Online Scams
Learn about the latest online and email scams. If it sounds to good to be true, chances are it is a scam. Check out the<a href="http://netforbeginners.about.com/od/scamsandidentitytheft/ss/top10inetscams.htm"> top 10 scams of 2012.</a>
Be Wary When Using E-Commerce
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Be Careful When Away From Home
Suspend paper delivery while away. Thieves may see piled-up papers as an opportunity to steal your mail, which includes a wealth of identity info.
Watch Your Wallet Or Purse
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Guard Your Receipts
Don't leave your receipts at the till or ATM. Cross check your credit card bills against the receipts.
Protect Your SIN
Don't carry your SIN card and don't hand out the number unless necessary.
Shred Unwanted Documents
Use a sheddar for disposing of old bills and records.
Get Rid Of Old Card
Don't carry more credit cards than you need and cancel unused accounts.