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Police issue warning after Nanaimo store staff stop scam in progress

Scammers had told their would-be-victim to purchase $3,500 in pre-paid credit cards, but store staff were able to stop the transaction
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After a lengthy discussion with the potential victim, employees were able to convince the individual that it was nothing more than a scam, Nanaimo RCMP Const. Gary O'Brien said Monday.

Alert Best Buy employees in Nanaimo spotted a scam in the works and prevented a customer from losing $3,500 last week.

In the Aug. 23 incident, scammers had told their would-be-victim to purchase $3,500 in pre-paid credit cards from the store, but staff sensed that something was up.

After a lengthy discussion with the potential victim, employees were able to convince the individual that it was nothing more than a scam, Nanaimo RCMP Const. Gary O’Brien said Monday.

RCMP are warning citizens about credit and bank scams that have been making the rounds in recent days in Nanaimo, after at least a dozen incidents. Victims range in age from their late twenties to late sixties.

Scammers pretending to work for Visa or for a chartered bank call individuals, saying several suspicious transactions have been spotted on their accounts.

The recipient of the call is told that the only way to remove the transactions is by buying gift cards or pre-paid credit cards.

Individuals have been told to go to London Drugs and Walmart to buy gift cards and to Canadian Tire for pre-paid Mastercards. Victims have lost between $1,000 and $2,500, O’Brien said.

O’Brien said accredited financial institutions and online merchants will never direct people to buy gift cards or pre-paid credit cards.

For more information go to the Canadian Anti-Fraud Centre at antifraudcentre.ca.

cjwilson@timescolonist.com

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