Call Us

The Quick Scam: Catching Petty Thieves in Edmonton & Calgary

Posted on

Quick scams have existed for years in many parts of North America. Canada, in particular, has seen its fair share of quick scams, especially in Edmonton and Calgary. The biggest problem with quick scams is alerting the public. The second biggest problem is catching the scammer before he or she can take off with the money.


Before we get too ahead of ourselves, let’s dig into the details. What is a quick scam and what exactly happened in Edmonton and Calgary? Keep reading to learn more!

What is a “Quick Scam”?

Across Canada, there are many different examples of quick scams. These types of scams happen fast, and in every case, the person doesn’t even know they’re part of a scam until it’s too late. By the time the person starts to ask questions, the scammer escapes—typically with the credit card, or other sensitive and personal information.

What Happened in Edmonton & Calgary?

While quick scams often happen in many cities across the country, Edmonton and Calgary have recently seen an increase. Police continue to warn the public about these types of scams. The reason why the warnings continue is that they are often completely avoidable. Public knowledge is key in kicking a quick scam and scammer to the curb.


To keep up with the trend of informing the public, here are a couple of examples of quick scams. These quick scams occurred in Edmonton and Calgary, Alberta.

Land Line Phone Scam

In September of 2018, CBC News Calgary reported a quick scam that targeted seniors. This quick scam involved a phone call to a landline. The woman who received the phone call was told that someone was trying to charge her credit card $14,000 at a local Tiffany’s retailer. The caller told the woman to call her bank immediately.


Here’s where the woman’s quick thinking saved her a lot of trouble.


The woman remembered reading about a similar quick scam. The scammer would call someone’s landline and pretend to be a retailer. They would inform the individual that someone was trying to use their credit card for a large sum of money. The scammer would then encourage the individual to call their bank or Credit Card Company. When the individual hung up to make the call, the scammer would stay on the line. The scammer would then pretend to be the individual’s bank and get them to move money to a special account during the “investigation.”


Luckily in this situation, the woman hung up and did a bit of online research. She checked and saw that no purchases had been made on her card. She then rang the Tiffany’s store in question on her cell phone. The clerk who answered confirmed that they had received seven different calls that day regarding a similar issue.


About ten minutes later, the woman received another phone call to her landline. This time the scammer started to push the woman to call her bank. At this point, the woman knew she had come close to being a part of a quick scam.

Online Phishing Scam

In 2017, a university in Edmonton lost millions of dollars in an email phishing scam. An administrative worker received an email requesting a change in banking information update from a vendor. The administrative worker failed to check whether or not the email actually came from the vendor. Once the information was sent over to the scammer, the university lost 11.8 million dollars. The university only discovered the fraud when the vendor contacted them to ask why they hadn’t received payment.


Most of the money has since been tracked to different accounts in Hong Kong and Montreal. The university is working with several different agencies to recover the stolen funds.

Tim Hortons Change Scam

In a small town near Edmonton, police have warned local businesses about a quick scam involving change. This scam occurred in early March and police suspect it has impacted some local businesses. The scam came to light at a local Tim Horton’s. A man entered and made a small purchase of a coffee and sandwich. The man then handed over some cash. The key to this scam is to confuse the cashier with questions, asking for smaller bills or change, to end up with more money than they started with.


At this particular Tim Hortons, the scammer managed to walk away with $100 in cash.

How Can a Private Investigator Help?

Many claim that nothing can be done to stop scammers from making a quick buck. This is why informing the public of the different tricks a scammer uses is so important. Even then, a scammer will adapt their techniques. They evolve and change the way in which they operate all the time. Therefore, many people across Calgary and Edmonton get scammed every day.


The good news is this is where a private investigator can help! A private investigator has the resources and time to hunt down a scammer. Quite often, hunting down a scammer requires a lot of patience. A private investigator must sift through hours of video surveillance, or even talk to dozens of people. Good private investigators, however, will do whatever it takes to chase down the scammer. This also means having the knowledge and skill to work with state of the art equipment and technology. Not every scammer shows her or his face in public.


Take, for example, the landline phone scam or the online phishing scam. Both scams are a faceless crime. The woman on the receiving end of the landline scam was only given a name—likely a fake one at that. It is for this reason that it becomes tricky to track down and stop the scammer. A good private investigator, however, will have the resources to know where to look. He or she will also have the tools and connections they need to get some answers.

How Does Surveillance Help?

Surveillance helps in quick scam cases for a variety of reasons. The biggest reason why surveillance is helpful in a quick scam case is that it can reveal the identity of the scammer. The second reason is that surveillance can then catch the scammer in the act.


For example, in the case of the Tim Horton’s scam near Edmonton, a video surveillance camera caught the image of the alleged scammer. Releasing this image makes it more difficult for the scammer to strike again. It also gives the public, the police, and private investigators someone to look out for during business hours.


If a private investigator spots the suspected scammer, he or she will likely set up surveillance. Setting up surveillance will allow the private investigator to monitor the suspect’s movements. He or she can track how many stores the suspect visits, and how much cash the suspect seems to carry on them. When the private investigator has enough evidence, he or she will also know when to strike. After all, the police want to catch the suspect. If the suspect thinks someone is on to them, they will likely leave town or alter their behavior. Good surveillance work helps to identify the scammer and gather enough evidence to pin them with a charge.

Protect Yourself From These Scams

It would take several blog posts to cover every quick scam in play in many Alberta cities these days. This is why it’s so important for you to make sure that you protect yourself and ask questions when something doesn’t feel quite right. The last thing you want is to lose your hard earned money or life savings. A quick scam can be a painful lesson, but the good news is, there are people out there who can help. For example, if you’ve been a victim of a quick scam, hiring a private investigator or private investigation company will only work to your advantage. Private investigators will use their surveillance skills and track down the scammer. In many cases, a good private investigator will get you your money back.


Are you a victim of a quick scam? Do you live in Alberta? The Smith Investigation Agency is here to help. Contact us today:

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *