Ken MacDonald is a crime prevention coordinator with the New Glasgow Police Service in Nova Scotia. He mainly deals with the prevention of identity theft, a type of fraud that is becoming more and more common not only in New Glasgow, but also in the rest of the province.
According to Ken, telephone fraud occurs frequently. All too often, he hears stories about seniors who receive a telephone call in which the caller pretends to be a member of a charitable organization. "The person who receives the call can then be led into giving valuable personal information," he says. Criminals can use this information to purchase products or services using their victims' credit or debit card numbers — in effect, robbing them.
"Dumpster diving is also on the increase, so it is important to properly dispose of Visa or MasterCard slips and other personal documents."
To eliminate this type of crime, Ken works to compile and send consumers various external resources that may be useful in fraud prevention. "The resources from the Financial Consumer Agency of Canada were a tremendous benefit to this community. From the tip sheets to the publications, the information is extremely easy to read," he points out. "We have taken that material and put it into packages that we gave out to our seniors and our youth organizations."
For Ken, understanding what identity theft is and being able to recognize it is the best way to protect oneself against this type of criminal activity.
This success story is part of a series of testimonials that can be viewed on FCAC's website at fcac.gc.ca.
Crime Prevention Coordinator, New Glasgow Police Service, Nova Scotia
My name is Constable Ken MacDonald of the New Glasgow Police Service and I am the crime prevention coordinator for this particular area. In this portion of the community, as well as in the province of Nova Scotia, identity theft is a trend that is actually on the rise. And within my role, I would look at this particular trend, look at the external resources and take it back to the community in terms of getting the message out to eliminate that crime.
Dumpster diving is actually on the increase, and that is when someone would go into a dumpster and take personal information out of garbage bags: unshredded material, so Visa slips, MasterCard slips, other personal information should be disposed of properly so that we don't see that crime trend increase.
Fraud over the telephone is a very common occurrence in our community. We have seen numerous accounts where a senior receives a telephone call and that person on the other line may disguise themselves as a charitable organization. As a result, the person may give out personal information in relation to bank account information, Visa information, MasterCard information — valuable personal information. And this is where we see a person being a victim of this crime and at least be on the hook for a couple thousand dollars.
The public can protect themselves from this type of criminal activity from taking place by using the tip sheet Protecting Yourself from Fraudulent Emails and Telephone Calls from the Financial Consumer Agency of Canada. This excellent resource gives us a step-by-step guide on how to protect yourself from becoming a victim of crime.
The resources from the Financial Consumer Agency of Canada were a tremendous benefit to this community, right from the tip sheets to the publications. The information is extremely easy to read. Protecting your Debit Card and Personal Identification Number (which is your PIN), Protecting Yourself from Credit Card Fraud, and Tips to Prevent Identity Fraud. We have taken that material and we have put it into packages that we gave out to our seniors' groups, to our youth organizations, and conducted presentations. We went to seniors' luncheons, we went to seniors' suppers and we also we went to schools to give education awareness to both seniors, youth, and our community members alike.
The cheque inserts provided by FCAC were a valuable resource for our working population and these cheque inserts provide reference material that folks can go on when they look into their cheques of how they can get more information on the tip sheets through MoneyTools.ca. And when they have a better understanding of identity theft and the ways identity theft is taking place, the public can protect themselves from this type of criminal activity.