Residents scammed out of thousands of dollars by pre-paid gift card fraud

Callers claim to be a bank investigator or police

South Simcoe Police is sounding the alarm about a pre-paid gift card fraud targeting local phone numbers.

Police are investigating three recent reports where victims in Innisfil and Bradford were duped out of thousands of dollars.

The victims were told to buy Joker Prepaid Mastercards by callers claiming to be a bank investigator or police.

The fraud went like this:

  • A victim was told there was unauthorized activity on her credit card and instructed to buy gift cards to resolve the issue. The suspect even sent a taxi to the victim’s residence to take her to the store. This victim lost just over $4,000.
  • A victim purchased $4,000 worth of gift cards after being called by an “investigator.” The suspect instructed the victim to put her phone in her purse while she bought the gift cards so the scammers could monitor the entire transaction.
  • A victim purchased $10,000 worth of gift cards after receiving a call from what he thought was a bank investigator.

Police urge residents to protect themselves with these tips:

  • Hang up the phone if you receive one of these calls.
  • Call your bank or credit card company to verify the legitimacy of people claiming to be “investigators.”
  • Call family members and tell them. Often scammers will instruct victims not to disclose to anyone what is happening.
  • Protect your personal information. Never give out your name, date of birth, Social Insurance Number, address, banking and credit card information or passwords to anyone you don’t know.
  • If you didn’t initiate the call, you don’t know who you’re talking to so again – hang up.
  • No legitimate organization will contact you and ask for payment in gift cards or prepaid credit cards.

Police say resist the natural reaction to act immediately and make decisions you otherwise wouldn’t make. Scammers are experts at creating a sense of panic and urgency.

Always report fraud to the police and the Canadian Anti-Fraud Centre by calling toll free 1-888-495-8501. Your information could assist an investigation, provide links between incidents and assist police with our prevention and awareness efforts. Please share this information with loved ones and those who may be aggressively targeted by these kinds of scams. Discuss the crime prevention tips provided.