The Russell County Ontario Provincial Police (OPP) wants local businesses, such as gas stations, convenience stores, grocery stores and other retailers to help prevent fraud when selling gift cards to members of the public.

Gift cards are widely used by consumers to purchase just about anything. The Canadian Anti-Fraud Centre (CAFC) has seen an increase in complaints where fraudsters request payment through the purchase of various gift cards.

On December 5, 2019, a Russell County OPP officer received a report of a fraud involving the purchase of various types of gifts cards. The fraudster told the victim he was a bank employee and that she was a victim of fraud. He instructed her to attend numerous businesses to purchase gift cards. She then provided the gift card codes to the fraudster. The victim lost $11,000 in one day.

Businesses are being requested to ask questions to clients purchasing a large amount of gift cards. This could help the individuals from becoming a victim of fraud.

Warning signs – How to protect yourself

  • If you are asked to pay for any service or product with a gift card, don’t do it, it’s a scam.
  • Ask yourself why any company would ask for payment through gift cards over the phone or text message when they should already have your information on file.
  • Contact the company or agency directly to confirm that if you REALLY owe money or that there’s a problem, before providing any personal or banking information.

Fraud…. Recognize it! Reject it! Report it!

Please refer to the Canadian Anti-Fraud Centre website for information about the numerous types of scams and how to protect yourself and others.

If you suspect that you may be a target of fraud, or if you have already sent funds, don’t be embarrassed – you’re not alone. If you want to report a fraud, or if you need more information, contact The Canadian Anti-Fraud Centre.

Toll Free: 1-888-495-8501