According to a release from the RCMP Tuesday both Saskatchewan and Alberta RCMP Crime Analysts have identified a recent trend that all business owners should be aware of: a number of businesses across Western Canada have been victims of similar high-dollar frauds in the last six months.
“What’s been happening? Someone calls the business to make a large transaction using multiple credit cards to pay. In these recent files, all contact is by phone and the caller asks to use several credit cards to make up the total purchase price. Only after the company has shipped the items are they alerted that the credit card has been reported stolen or the true cardholder gets the charge reversed. Although several of the victims have been tire and vehicle parts businesses, any type of business could be targeted in the same way,” the release stated.
Red flags for businesses include: new customers from outside the trading area asking to ship products long distances, often to another province, only a phone number and generic email information are provided (not a business email) and multiple credit cards are used and some cards may be declined but others go through.
Businesses should make efforts to protect themselves by being aware of potential frauds, educating their employees about fraud and by having good fraud protection policies. Business owners may also wish to discuss potential strategies with credit card companies or payment specialists to prevent such crimes.
In some cases, it appears the suspects use online platforms or other methods to recruit individuals to pick up items from the selling business, warehouse or other legitimate businesses. The individual meets the suspect in an area with no surveillance cameras, hands over the product and gets a small cash sum for their assistance. This way, the fraudster is never seen by the business making the sale and does not appear on any CCTV. If you see an offer like this, ask yourself if there might be stolen goods involved and use caution.
Anyone with information regarding similar offences should report it to their local RCMP detachment or police service. To submit information anonymously, one can call Crime Stoppers at 1-800-222-TIPS (8477).