By Lethbridge Herald on February 11, 2019.
Lethbridge Police have charged a man and a woman in connection with
numerous incidents where personal information was collected and used
to commit identity fraud.
Police said, in a release Monday, that an investigation by patrols and
members of the Economic Crimes Unit determined more than 30 victims
had mail stolen or documents taken from their vehicles in November and
December 2018. The stolen mail included tax assessments, pay stubs,
cheques, credit card statements, personal letters and pre-authorized
The property taken from vehicles consisted mostly of insurance and
registration documents and wallets. In addition, personal details were
gathered from social media accounts.
With the stolen documents, police say the subjects were able to obtain
names, dates of birth, Social Insurance Numbers, addresses, bank
account and credit card information. Online applications were
subsequently made and the subjects were successful in obtaining a
vehicle, guitar and loan using a digitally altered driver’s license
and pay stub.
In some cases, the stolen documents were also traded for drugs.
Kyle Anthony Blakely, 28, of Lethbridge, is facing 84 criminal
charges including possession of stolen property, uttering a forged
document, fraud, false pretenses, make/possess identity documents,
possession of undelivered mail, possession of credit card data and
more. He is scheduled to appear in court for a bail hearing Feb. 12.
Tammy Judy Yolanta Kotowski, of Lethbridge, is facing 52 criminal
charges including, possession of undelivered mail, possession of
stolen property, possession of credit card data, make/possess identity
documents, fraud and more.
A warrant for Kotowski’s arrest has been issued. Anyone with
information on her whereabouts is asked to call police at 403-328-4444
or Crime Stoppers 1-800-222-8477.
To help prevent identity fraud, police say it’s important for everyone
to take precautions and safeguard their documents and personal
information. They suggest to: always collect mail in a timely fashion
and arrange for someone to pick it up for you when you’re away; always
shred discarded mail that may contain personal information; do not
leave insurance and registration information inside your vehicle. If
you must, ensure it is placed in the trunk, locked glove box or other
location where it cannot be easily obtained; ensure social media
accounts are not “open.” Use the highest privacy settings; do not use
your full name on social media or include your date of birth or other
personal details. Consider a pseudonym or nickname for your profile;
beware of random friend requests from people you do not personally
know or associate with.
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