Identity fraud spike at automotive dealerships

DATE: | Industry bulletins

AMVIC is working with the Calgary Police Service (CPS) to caution Alberta automotive sales businesses about increased criminal activity related to identity fraud.

The CPS Auto Theft Team has tracked a significant increase in cases of identity fraud being used to purchase vehicles from vehicle sales businesses. Three separate groups of offenders are actively working in the Calgary area, each with a specific way of operating:

  1. Offenders will attend dealerships and inquire about high end vehicles. They will present forged Alberta driver’s licences and arrange financing for the vehicles. The offenders are committing identity fraud and using profiles of victims who are generally from Quebec.
  2. Offenders will present forged temporary Alberta driver’s licences accompanied by forged Government of Canada citizenship cards. They will also attempt to pay for the vehicle using altered bank drafts.
  3. Offenders will present forged Quebec driver’s licences and attempt to gain financing through the dealership.

In all instances the offenders tend to target the automotive sales businesses near the end of the day and press for a fast sale, claiming that they need to leave town that evening, putting pressure on the salesperson to make a quick deal. Salespeople and automotive businesses can follow these tips from the CPS to prevent fraudulent activity:

  • Trust your instincts and do your due diligence, especially when you are dealing with an out of province consumer.
  • In situations where bank drafts are being presented, confirm the authenticity of the draft and draft amount with the bank indicated.
  • Do not accept Government of Canada Citizenship cards as proof of ID without a second verifiable government picture ID.

Staff Sergeant Graeme Smiley of the CPS District Support Unit urges due diligence. “In Calgary, offenders use stolen vehicles as a means to facilitate other crimes that can cause great risk to the public. Members of our Auto Theft Team, as well as our frontline patrol officers, see this concerning activity on a daily basis.”

Anyone with information about fraudulent activity is asked to call the CPS non-emergency number at 403-266-1234, or Crime Stoppers anonymously either online or toll free at 1-800-222-8477.