NRPS Launches Point of Sale Scam Intervention Program (POSSIP)

Every year scammers target Canadians, many here in Niagara.  The scams often target vulnerable victims.   In 2021, the Canadian Anti-Fraud Centre received 104,295 fraud reports from across Canada with associated losses in excess of $379,000,000.

Scammers often direct victims to retail stores to purchase cryptocurrency or gift cards.  The victims are under the impression that there is an emergency situation (e.g., Grandparent Scam) and they must provide money or payment to the scammer.  Scammers often tell the victims that the matter is private and not to talk to anyone.

In February and March of 2022, the NRPS investigated 57 incidents involving the Grandparent Scam.  Collectively, victims paid scammers approximately $150,000 in cash drawn from financial institutions. The money has not been recovered.

In May of 2022, the NRPS began an investigation after an elderly couple purchased $22,000 in gift cards from three different retailers.  None of the five involved salesclerks questioned the purchases with the victims. The $22,000 was given to the scammers.  The money has not been recovered.

The Niagara Regional Police Service (NRPS) has previously conducted awareness and educational efforts directed towards potential victims and their trusted family members. 

The Point Sale Scam Intervention Program (POSSIP) has been designed with detectives from the NRPS Central Fraud Unit to create awareness and education for retail and financial institution employees with the goal of providing intervention at the point of sale.

Retailers and financial institutions are encouraged to download the education program for their employees to view.  The education program works in conjunction with a NRPS poster to support the employees which is also available for download.

Click Link

Retailers and financial intuitions are also encouraged to create internal policy regarding scam intervention and refusal of sales to protect victims.

For more information about fraudulent scams click the links below.

Canadian Anti-Fraud Centre                                                  NRPS Central Fraud Unit