A woman is facing charges for allegedly defrauding several businesses in Calgary and stealing people's identities over the past five months and police believe there may be other victims.
The investigation was started after police received a report of a loan application being made by a woman who was allegedly using an identity stolen from a local business owner.
Police believe the woman targeted the business, which was for sale at the time, and put down a deposit to buy it.
She allegedly then used information provided as part of the sale to apply for a loan.
In a separate instance, police allege the same woman, who was in the process of buying another business, was able to obtain personal information of employees that was initially provided for payroll purposes.
It is alleged she used the employee identities to apply for, and obtain, credit.
As investigators probed further, they found multiple businesses and individuals who may have had their identities compromised, which allowed the woman to continue to apply for and obtain credit through online loan applications using false identities.
When payments came due, banks began contacting people whose names had allegedly been used by the woman.
Ashley Venn, 33, of Calgary, is facing several charges, including:
- Five counts of personation
- Five counts of fraud over $5,000
She is known to use the alias of Ashley Curran.
"Investigators have identified eight victims to date who were targeted by Venn," reads a release from police.
"It is believed that there are others who may have also had their, or their business’ information compromised."
Police have released a photo of Venn as they feel her name alone may not be enough for people to recognize her and realize they may have had their personal information compromised.
Anyone who feels they may be the victim of identity theft to obtain credit can check with credit reporting agencies like Equifax and TransUnion.
"Identity theft can be devastating for victims as their credit and finances can be ruined," said Sgt. Matt Frederiksen of the CPS Fraud Team.
"It’s important to protect your personal information at all times and regularly check credit reports and bank statements. If you notice something suspicious, alert your financial institution immediately and report it to police."
Anyone who finds they have been the victim of identity theft should contact their bank immediately and also call police at 403-266-1234.