Saanich police are warning about gift card scams after a resident lost money. (Black Press Media file photo)

Saanich police warn of gift card fraud after resident falls victim to scam

Canadian Anti-Fraud Center reports about $15.8 million lost in 2020 so far

Police are warning Saanich residents to be wary of fraud after a local recently fell victim to a gift card scam.

The Saanich Police Department hasn’t seen too many scams relating to COVID-19 as other jurisdictions have but public information officer Const. Markus Anastasiades is warning residents to look out for schemes involving gift cards.

Anastasiades explained that people have reported receiving texts or emails from scammers pretending to be someone they know – for example, their boss – and asking them to purchase gift cards. The scammer then asks that the person scratch the back of the gift cards and send them the information on the back so the funds can be used without having the physical card.

READ ALSO: RCMP, prime minister warn of text scam related to COVID-19 relief

Recently, a Saanich resident fell victim to the scam and picked up several Google Play gift cards and sent the information to a scammer who then asked them to buy more, Anastasiades explained. When the resident returned to the store for more Google Play cards, the clerk caught on and asked if someone was telling them to buy the cards.

Luckily, the clerk was able to refund some of the gift cards but the resident did lose money, Anastasiades said. He pointed out that while clerks in Saanich aren’t specifically advised by police about the signs of scams, many are aware of the most common ones due to media coverage and are able to step in.

Anastasiades emphasized that it’s important to be wary of anyone asking for gift cards, money, Bitcoin or anything unusual. He added that scammers can spoof emails and phone numbers and pretend to be someone the victim knows.

READ ALSO: Police seize 1,500 fake COVID-19 tests being sold in B.C.

“They’re very crafty and clever,” Anastasiades said. He recommends calling the person to confirm it’s really them before making any purchases or sending funds.

Anastasiades explained that it’s important for anyone who’s been contacted by a scammer to report it to police and to the Canadian Anti-Fraud Centre. This allows officials to investigate the incident and track trends to protect others, he said pointing out that there’s no need to be embarrassed when it comes to scams.

According to the Anti-Fraud Centre, by the end of March, Canadians had reported nearly 13,000 cases of fraud in 2020 and $15.8 million in total losses so far.


@devonscarlett
Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

devon.bidal@saanichnews.com

Saanich Police DepartmentScams

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Saanich mayor joins fight to protect local wildlife from rat poisoning after second owl dies

Mayor Fred Haynes to meet with provincial, federal pest control industry representatives

Greater Victoria writer releases first novel inspired by U.S. school shootings

Dear Mr. President tells thought provoking story of victims left behind

Sidney fire responds to fewer but more severe calls during pandemic

Rise in severity linked to changes in routine during COVID-19 pandemic

Saanich police see spike in excessive speeding compared to previous years

Nearly 100 excessive speeders caught since January 2020

Colwood branch drop-off to continue throughout summer

COVID-19 safety measures remain in place

QUIZ: Test your knowledge of the world of summer sports

In a typical year, there are plenty of summer sporting events and tournaments held across Canada

‘We’re sick of it’: Anger over police killings shatters U.S.

Tens of thousands marched to protest the death of George Floyd

Surrey mayor’s party under fire for ‘sickening’ tweet accusing northern B.C. RCMP of murder

Mayor Doug McCallum says tweet, Facebook post ‘sent out by unauthorized person’

Father’s Day Walk Run for prostate cancer will be virtual event this year throughout B.C.

The annual fundraiser for Prostate Cancer Foundation BC has brought in $2.5 million since 1999

Dr. Bonnie Henry announces official ban on overnight kids’ camps this summer

New ban comes after talking with other provincial health officials across the country, Henry says

Senior man in hospital after unprovoked wolf attack near Prince Rupert

Conservation officers are on site looking for the wolf

VIDEO: NASA astronauts blast off into space on SpaceX rocket

Marks NASA’s first human spaceflight launched from U.S. soil in nearly a decade

‘I knew what he wanted’: Kootenay man spends hours in tree as black bear patrols below

Francis Levasseur is no stranger to the outdoors, but a recent run-in with a bear caused quite a scare

PHOTOS: U.S. cities brace for increasing unrest over police killing of George Floyd

Minnesota Gov. Tim Walz has fully mobilized the state’s National Guard

Most Read