Pharmacy employee goes above and beyond to prevent fraud

Police are praising a pharmacy employee for telling them about a fraud victim who came into the store, which allowed them to prevent further harm.

Employee cancelled fraud victim's purchase, followed up with police to prevent further exploitation

Fraudsters encouraged a man to buy gift cards, but an employee did not process the purchase and alerted police. (Rafferty Baker/CBC)

Essex County OPP are praising the efforts of a pharmacy employee in Harrow who followed up with police to help a victim of fraud.

According to police, on Oct. 6, the employee heard a customer talking to a fraudster on the phone. The fraudster was telling the victim to purchase gift cards, which is part of a common scam.

The employee, aware of the scam, not only declined the purchase but also took note of the victim's license plate and called the OPP.

Const. Amanda Allen of Essex County OPP says it's that extra step the employee took that makes this a notable case of fraud prevention.

"Any time you witness any type of crime, we ask our witnesses to be a great witness — get as much information as possible," she said. "Obviously we don't want people to put themselves in danger, but if you can assist us with identifying features, that helps us to follow up on suspicious circumstances and helps us to prevent crime."

An officer later went to the victim's residence and found him still on the phone with the fraudsters. OPP said the officer was able to ensure the security of the man's banking and credit card information.

Allen says police do this by following up with the victim's bank and credit card companies to make sure that no fraudulent transactions are processed in the future.

Allen said the pharmacy did not want to comment on the incident.

Since perpetrators of fraud are often located overseas, it can be difficult for police to bring them to justice. 

According to the Canadian Anti-Fraud Centre, Canadians have lost $67.2 million to fraud so far this year, with 18,533 Canadians falling victim. 

"It's a very big business now," Allen said.

"If you have a belief that you are a victim of fraud, please report it to police. You're not alone."


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