Niagara police warn of COVID-era credit card scam that hurts customers and businesses
Police in Niagara region are warning about increasingly common credit card scams reported during the pandemic.
Niagara Regional Police Service says there has been an increase in fraudulent credit card transactions as more businesses do sales by phone during COVID-19.
The service says the fraud involves using illegally obtained cards to order merchandise without the cardholders' knowledge.
"Given the concerns with COVID-19, many business transactions are being conducted by telephone or email preventing businesses from knowing their customers," the service says. "Fraudsters are taking advantage of the situation and making purchases by credit card, without being physically present at a store. This is referred to as a 'card not present transaction'."
The card is later found to be fraudulent or stolen, the service says, but usually after someone has already picked up the order.
Business owners are urged to collect as much customer information as possible and question orders that are to be shipped outside the region.
They should also verify phone numbers, addresses and transaction information, and validate orders from repeat customers who are breaking an established pattern.
As for customers, the service urges them to regularly review their account statements, report lost or stolen credit cards, and not give credit card information over the phone when they didn't initiate the call.
Victims who have lost money can call 905-688-4411 "dispatch" to report it. People who want to report scams but haven't lost money can call the Canadian Anti-Fraud Centre at 1-888-495-8501.