December 10th 2018, AMVIC, in collaboration with Edmonton Police Service (EPS), is warning Alberta dealerships about two alleged fraudsters acting on behalf of of organized crime operations targeting high-end dealerships in Edmonton, and Calgary.
Dealerships are being contacted by buyers online or over the phone for vehicle purchases. A person is then sent to the dealership with extremely well replicated but fraudulent identification, bank drafts and bank statements. Sometimes the person has a cloned vehicle for trade-in. The fraudster goes by different aliases with accompanying, fraudulent ID every time, and are difficult to track down after a sale.
The vehicle purchase goes through with the fraudster taking possession of a brand new vehicle, while the dealership is left unaware it was scammed. The newly purchased vehicle is then modified with a different VIN and then sold online to unsuspecting buyers by the organized crime ring, who are now curbing.
EPS has identified two suspects from two different organized crime rings.
One has targeted both Edmonton and Calgary already in the past few weeks, fraudulently obtaining at least three vehicles in Edmonton and over 20 in Calgary. The male suspect is often accompanied by a female when making the in-person purchase.
The second suspect is known in Ontario, with the Ontario police believing the organized crime ring out east will be targeting western provinces such as Alberta and British Columbia in the upcoming weeks.
Protect your business from fraud by doing your due diligence:
Be aware of what VIN cloning is. VIN cloning is when thieves take the VIN of a legally registered vehicle and put it on a stolen vehicle, usually of the same model, make and year. Use all the resources you can to check the VIN of any trade-in vehicles being offered to correctly identify the vehicle.Ensure you contact the financial institution for any bank drafts and statements given to check the legitimacy of the document.
If you had any interaction with these two suspects or believe you may have fallen victim to the scam, please report it to EPS’s non-emergency line at 780-423-4567.