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FPM Wk 3: Business and Service Scams

Service scams make up the majority of the face-to-face frauds we typically encounter. Service scams can include home renovation scams by unlicensed contractors, as well as door to door fundraising scams which will often target senior citizens.

With spring in the air, homeowners will often start thinking about completing renovations planned for over the long winter months. Before engaging a potential contractor, it is very important to ask many questions ahead of time and request the names of past clients as references to confirm the quality of their work. Professional contractors will have no issues with providing you with this information and photos of their work.

Be cautious with new contractors or service companies who do not have ties to your community, and show up unsolicited, going door-to-door offering services such; gutter cleaning, evestrough repair/replacement, siding and fascia jobs. Often, once they secure a down payment or total payment for a project in advance they will leave the community and effectively close their fake business and the homeowner will be out the money paid. Always be wary of contractors who require you to pay your bills up front, prior to starting your job. Once you have paid, it becomes a civil issue for you to fight to have your work completed.

Always be extremely cautious when hiring someone from an online resource such as Craig’s list, Kijiji, or a Facebook group. Often times these “businesses” will operate on a buyer beware policy and will offer no reimbursement if the deal falls through. Never pay upfront over the internet for services to be completed. These online communities can be an excellent place to locate a potential service provider but always meet with the contractor in person and go through the proper steps to verify their credentials before hiring them to complete any work.

As the weather gets warmer, the frequency of door-to-door frauds will typically increase. If someone comes to your door, claiming to represent a company or community organization, always ask to see his or her identification badge or supporting documentation before donating funds. If they cannot produce ID, there is a good chance that it is a scam. Even if they have an ID badge, but something still does not feel right you, do not allow yourself to be pressured into donating money and contact the Medicine Hat Police Service at 403-529-8481 to report the suspicious behavior.

As a general rule, when it comes to your money it is always good to be skeptical!

To learn more about common frauds and scams visit the Canadian Anti-Fraud Centre website at www.antifraudcentre.ca.

Media Contact:

Sgt Adam Gregory
Medicine Hat Police Service
Community Support Unit
Ph: 403-529-8451

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UPDATE - Structure Fire

The Medicine Hat Police along with other emergency personnel are currently on the scene of a structure fire in the 800 block of 11 Street SE. Please avoid the area if possible. Additionally, due to the strong winds the city is experiencing as well as the dry conditions, we are asking residents in the immediate area to watch for any embers which may create additional fires.  

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Structure Fire

The Medicine Hat Police along with other emergency personnel are currently on the scene of a structure fire in the 800 block of 11 Street SE.  Please avoid the area if possible.

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Stolen Property Recovered

On March 5, 2021 three Medicine Hat men were arrested after allegedly attempting to sell stolen stereo equipment. The owner recognized their recently stolen property being listed for sale on an online classified website and contacted the Medicine Hat Police Service (MHPS).

The Medicine Hat ALERT Regional Property Crime Unit provided assistance and identified the suspects and location of the stolen property. A Medicine Hat home was searched and the stolen stereo equipment was located, along with other stolen property and a shotgun. The gun was not lawfully possessed and two of the suspects are prohibited from owning firearms as the result of previous criminal convictions.

Resulting from this investigation Aaron Solheim, 28, Shaylon Witts, 33, and Cameron Beaudoin, 27, were arrested.

Solheim was charged with unauthorized possession of a firearm, possess firearm contrary to order, trafficking in stolen property and possession of stolen property.

Beaudoin was charged with unauthorized possession of a firearm, possess firearm contrary to order, breach of probation and breach of release order.

Witts was charged with trafficking in stolen property, possession of methamphetamine, and possession of proceeds of crime.

Members of the community who suspect drug, gang or property crime issues in their neighborhood can submit tips anonymously through the MHPS website at mhps.ca or the MHPS mobile app, which is free to download and available for both Apple and Android devices.

Media Contact:

Sgt Darren Lole
Regional Property Crime Unit
Medicine Hat Police Service
Ph: 403-529-8481

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Drugs, firearms seized in rural southern Alberta

More than $160,000 in drugs and cash were seized after an ALERT investigation in southern Alberta. Four firearms, including two loaded handguns, were also seized.

The drugs were seized after a rural residence was searched in Mountain View County. ALERT seized large amounts of methamphetamine, fentanyl, and cocaine and arrested six suspects.

“Our information suggested these suspects were trafficking drugs in the region, and also supplying methamphetamine and fentanyl towards Medicine Hat and Lethbridge,” said Staff Sgt. Kelsey Fraser, ALERT Medicine Hat.

ALERT Medicine Hat’s organized crime team concluded the investigation on February 24, 2021. A number of partner agencies provided assistance, including Didsbury RCMP, Red Deer RCMP, Medicine Hat Police, and ALERT Red Deer.

An estimated $160,000 worth of drugs and cash were seized, including:

• 281 grams of methamphetamine;

• 330 grams of fentanyl;

• 261 grams of cocaine;

• 758 grams of psilocybin mushrooms; and

• $30,780 cash.

ALERT also seized four firearms, including two handguns, a rifle, and a shotgun. One of the handguns was found loaded inside the suspect’s vehicle.

Six people were arrested and face a total of 27 criminal offences:

• Edward Nicholson, 53-year-old from Didsbury, is charged with possession of drugs for the purpose of trafficking, possession of proceeds of crime, and 11 firearms-related offences;

• Ryan Riley, 35-year-old from Medicine Hat, is charged with possession of drugs for the purpose of trafficking;

• Lori Ehrler, 32-year-old from Medicine Hat, is charged with possession of drugs for the purpose of trafficking;

• Denise Dorge, 73-year-old from Didsbury, is charged with two firearms-related offences;

• Colin Orum, 47-year-old from Didsbury, is charged with possession of drugs and careless storage of a firearm; and

• Letisha Whitesel, 19-year-old from Didsbury, is charged with property obtained by crime.

Members of the public who suspect drug or gang activity in their community can call local police, or contact Crime Stoppers at 1-800-222-TIPS (8477). Crime Stoppers is always anonymous.

ALERT was established and is funded by the Alberta Government and is a compilation of the province’s most sophisticated law enforcement resources committed to tackling serious and organized crime.

Media inquiries may be directed to:

Staff Sgt. Kelsey Fraser
Medicine Hat Organized Crime Team
Alberta Law Enforcement Response Teams (ALERT)
Ph: 403-529-8425

Michael Tucker
Communications Director
Alberta Law Enforcement Response Teams (ALERT)
Desk: 780-509-3015
Cell: 780-983-4159

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Parking Near Schools

The Medicine Hat Police Service (MHPS) has received numerous concerns regarding parking infractions at/near several of the elementary and middle schools in our city. The infractions are often for parking near or blocking crosswalks, blocking driveways and parking near fire hydrants or parking where signs prohibit.

In an attempt to mediate several of the schools have sent out notices reminding parents and caregivers of the importance of respecting parking laws. In addition to the school reminders, the MHPS has increased patrols of school zones and has assigned the Parking Monitors to enforce parking laws in the areas. The safety of school children and volunteer crosswalk patrollers is our primary focus.

For reference, here are some of the parking laws from the Traffic Safety Act and Medicine Hat Municipal Bylaws that will be enforced;

Parking;

  • on a crosswalk or any part of a crosswalk
  • on a sidewalk or boulevard
  • nearer than 5 metres from an intersection
  • within 5 metres of a crosswalk
  • within 5 metres of a stop sign or yield sign
  • within 1.5 metres from access to a garage or driveway
  • at any place where a traffic control device prohibits parking or stopping
  • Failing to stop for a pedestrian in a crosswalk

Fines begin at $50 for Medicine Hat Bylaw offences and can be as high as $810 for Traffic Safety Act offences.

Lets work together to make our city roads safer for everyone! Thank you for your cooperation

Media Contact:

Sgt Gerald Sadlemyer
Traffic Unit
Medicine Hat Police Service
Ph: 403-529-8471

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Male Charged with Stolen Property

On March 8, 2021, at approximately 6:45 PM the Medicine Hat 911 Communications received a call from a Calgary resident who advised that his vehicle had been stolen from Calgary earlier in that morning. He further stated he was live monitoring the vehicle GPS system which was displaying the vehicle’s current location in Medicine Hat.

Members of the Medicine Hat Police Service were dispatched to the area, located the vehicle, and attempted to conduct a vehicle stop. The driver would not stop for the responding officers. The vehicle owner continued to provide real time GPS updates, and as a result police were able to safely follow the vehicle at a distance until it stopped in the 200 block of 7 Street NE.

Patrol members blocked the vehicle into a dead end close in the zero hundred block of 7 Street NE. In an attempt to flee the driver then proceeded to drive the vehicle over the seven foot retaining wall crashing onto Division Avenue below, severely damaging, and disabling the vehicle. The driver was uninjured, exited the vehicle, and took off running from the area on foot. Patrol officers apprehended the driver a short distance away.

A 27-year-old Calgary resident is in custody facing charges of; Possession of Stolen Property Over $5,000, Possession of Stolen Property Under $5,000, Possession of Identify documents, Obstruction, Resist Arrest, and multiple bail violations.

Media Contact:

S/Sgt Rod Thompson
Patrol Section
Medicine Hat Police Service
Ph: 403-529-8461

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FPM Week 2: Identify Theft / Phishing Scams

One of the most common types of reported fraud are mass marketing scams, also known as phishing scams. The word phishing comes from the way it is done, fraudster will replicate a valid company and send out emails that act as a lure to attract potential victims. The more lures (emails) used the more potential victims that can be reached. Phishing scams not only occur over the Internet but can also occur over the phone or traditional letters mailed to the general public.

Look out for emails, phone calls or letters claiming that you have won a prize but need to call in or respond to an email to verify your winnings. Often times you will be asked to call in to a 1-900 number, which require you to pay a price, sometimes up to $6.00/minute or a flat rate/phone call. Some phishing scams will appear to be from an institution you are currently involved with and will ask that you to provide some personal information such as; a credit card number, or social insurance number. This should be a warning sign as your financial institution will already have this information on file.

There are several ways to protect yourself from falling victim to these scams:

  • Never respond to unsolicited requests from a company requesting personal information.
  • If you receive a notification that you have won a prize from a contest that you have never participated in, do not respond to it.
  • Block 1-900 phone numbers from calling you through your local telephone provider.
  • If you receive a request from a company you are currently involved with, whether you work for them or are a client, and they are requesting money or personal information, contact your local branch of that institution directly to confirm the details.
  • If you receive unsolicited mail, either via email or regular mail, do your research on the company before conducting business with them. The Better Business Bureau is a great resource to confirm if they are a legitimate business with a positive reputation.

The best rule of thumb to protect yourself is to always be skeptical. Educate yourself on ways to protect your hard earned money and seek advice if you are concerned that something might be a scam. The Canadian Anti-Fraud Centre website (www.antifraudcentre.ca) is a great resource and contains information about many different fraud types.

Media Contact:

Sgt Adam Gregory
Medicine Hat Police Service
Community Support Unit
Ph: 403-529-8451

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Celebrating Women in Policing

On International Women’s Day the Medicine Hat Police Service (MHPS) is proud to celebrate women in policing. While all policing organizations employed women in civilian roles as receptionists or data entry clerks in the early years, very few employed them as uniformed members until the 1970’-1980’s. In Medicine Hat the first female officer was hired by the MHPS on January 8, 1986.

 

Over the past 35 years, female officers have faced varying degrees of challenges as they embarked on careers in policing. Some were met with open minds and coworkers who were very supportive and willing to teach, and others unfortunately with closed doors and the belief that women were not suited to the nature of police work. Today, 16 of the 114 police officers in Medicine Hat are women and are strong contributors to the community and the organization. The MHPS is committed to encouraging others to consider policing as a career as is demonstrated by the composition of the recent cadet training programs.

While female civilians have been an essential part of the MHPS workforce from its earliest days it is important to also acknowledge the much more diverse roles that they now play. Every day women offer their professional expertise in increasingly diverse areas including; municipal bylaw enforcement, communications, information technology, data analysis, victim services and many more.

Today, and everyday we thank these women for their service to our community, their strong leadership and for breaking down barriers for those who follow.

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Multi-Vehicle MVC - Injury

UPDATE: 2:00 PM March 5, 2021

The multi vehicle collision which occurred at the Trans Canada Highway at 7th Street SW has been cleared. Two individuals have been taken to hospital for treatment of undetermined injuries. Emergency crews are now clear of the scene and the traffic collision is still under investigation. Thank you for your patience.

 

Medicine Hat Emergency Services are currently on scene of a multi-vehilce MVC at the intersection of the Trans Canada Hwy and 7th Street SW.   Traffic is currently being re-routed in the area in order for emergency personnel to manage the situation and conduct an investigation.   If travelling near the area expect delays and if at all possible please avoid this area.   An update will be provided when the investigation is complete and traffic resumes to normal. 

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