Niagara police is warning residents about an increase in fraudulent credit card transactions occurring over the last few months, particularly with business transactions done by phone or email.
Due to COVID-19 restrictions, many businesses are completing transactions without the credit card holder being physically present at the establishment. This is called a “card not present transaction”. This practice can make it easier for scammers to make fraudulent purchases.
Many of the fraudulent transactions being reported occur when a stolen or illegally obtained credit card is used to purchase large orders by email or phone. The card is later found to be stolen or the purchase is found to be fraudulent. However, this is often after the order has been processed and received, resulting in a financial loss to the business.
The scam often occurs with first-time customers and in many cases, the order is delivered to an address outside the Niagara Region. Businesses are reminded to confirm cheques, money orders, and bank drafts before delivering products.
Here are some other tips that the Niagara Regional Police Service suggest to reduce these sorts of scams:
Merchant Tips to Reduce Scams
- Collect as much customer information as possible
- Verify the phone number, address and transaction information
- Examine priority shipment requests
- Validate orders from repeat customers that differ from the established pattern
- Question orders that are to be shipped out of province or a post office box
Customer Tips to Reduce Scams
- Regularly review your account statements
- If your credit card is lost/stolen, report it immediately
- Do not provide credit card information over the phone, if you did not initiate the phone call
- Ensure webpages are encrypted
If you have experienced a financial loss due to a scam, please call the NRPS at 905-688-4111 and ask for “dispatch” to report it. If you do not experience a financial loss, you can report it to the Canadian Anti-Fraud Centre at 1-88-495-8501 or report it online.