Fraud tactic credited for saving elderly man $50,000

McLennan RCMP help save man from financial faux pas

Chris Clegg
South Peace News

McLennan RCMP have implemented a new fraud fighting tactic in time for Fraud Prevention Month.

McLennan RCMP noticed an increase in gift card scams and provided Gift Card Fraud handouts to local businesses to increase awareness of the issue.

And the effort has paid off!

In early March, a store clerk was approached by an elderly male wanting to purchase gift cards. The clerk used the Gift Card Fraud handout, became suspicious of the request, and decided to intervene.

“Because of the clerk’s interference, the elderly male reached out to his family for help and realized he was being scammed. He had been in the process of liquidating his assets and would have lost $50,000 in RRSPs,” says Cpl. Deanna Fontaine, Alberta RCMP Media Relations.

Sadly, the elderly are often targets of fraud.

In 2019, there were over 46,000 reports of fraud, and $98 million was lost to fraud in Canada. As of Jan. 31, there have already been over 3,400 reports of fraud in Canada.

Due to the success of the Gift Card Fraud handout, Alberta RCMP will send more of these handouts to detachments this month.

In the meantime, the RCMP is encouraging retailers to ask themselves a couple of questions when selling gift cards to customers: “Does this transaction make sense?” and “Would you be OK if your loved one was making this purchase?”

Following are some prevention tips:

  • If it sounds too good to be true, it probably is;
  • Ignore communication from unknown contacts;
  • Purchase items from reputable organizations;
  • Never send money on a dating site;
  • Regularly monitor credit card statements for unknown charges;
  • Research organizations via the Better Business Bureau;
  • Don’t leave personal identification in your vehicle.

If you have been the victim of a fraud, report it to your local police detachment.

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