February 22nd, 2019

Police lay multiple charges in identity fraud investigation


By Lethbridge Herald on February 11, 2019.

Lethbridge Herald
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 
credit letters.
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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