Some retail fish businesses in the St. John's area have recently been the target of a credit card scam, prompting the Royal Newfoundland Constabulary’s (RNC) Economic Crime Unit to issue an advisory to the public.
According to the RNC the scam starts over the phone. The suspects, usually in British Columbia, use stolen credit card information to order merchandise over the phone. They also use pay as you go cell phones registered under fake names.
When an item is purchased with the stolen credit card data, the criminal will typically request to have it shipped by courier or air cargo to a depot in the Lower Mainland, British Columbia.
According to the RNC, the suspects purchase thousands of dollars worth of fish, preferably lobster.
And, because there is a delay before the credit card owner realizes their credit card has been compromised, businesses aren't made aware that they have been defrauded until it is too late.
Generally, the police say, businesses suffer the losses, not the banks or the credit card holders.
“If you own or work for a business that takes credit card information over the phone, you need to reduce your risk of being victimized, make sure to get full authorization from the credit card company before finalizing a sale,” the RNC advises in a news release issued today.
Most importantly, police say, you should ask the bank or credit card company to verify any credit card holder’s name and address because the fraudsters in this scam will often not use the card owner’s real name and may not know the card owner’s real address.
The RNC Criminal Investigation Division is continuing to investigate this matter and is seeking the assistance of the general public. Anyone with information regarding this fraud is asked to contact the RNC at 729-8000 or Crime Stoppers at 1-800-222-TIPS (8477). People can also provide information anonymously on the N.L. Crime Stoppers Website at www.nlcrimestoppers.com.