Credit card scam active in West Shore

West Shore RCMP is asking local merchants to be diligent about not manually keying in customers' credit card numbers.

West Shore RCMP is asking local merchants to be diligent about not accepting credit card numbers from customers when they allege that their chip or magnetic strip is not working.

RCMP spokesperson Cpl. Kathy Rochlitz said that there have been a number of recent incidents in Saanich and the West Shore where customers have claimed their card is not working and have asked merchants to enter their credit card number manually.

The customer will then verbally give the merchant a stolen credit card number to make the purchase.

Scammers typically won’t push the chip in far enough so it won’t work, or won’t swipe it properly.

When a merchant enters in a number manually he or she is bypassing the security features of the card, said Rochlitz. For that reason credit card companies will not reimburse the merchant for money lost in this scam.

“The nice merchant is doing the favour saying ‘I’ll do this for you,’” Rochlitz said, “rather then saying ‘no, I’m sorry, those security features are there for a purpose and I can’t override them,’ which is what should happen.”

At least 10 businesses in Saanich were targeted in a case that has resulted in charges. A number of cases on the West Shore, typically in convenience stores, have now prompted the new warning from police.

“It’s something that we’re seeing more and more,” Rochlitz said. “The criminals are creative. … It’s something that we really would like to get out there because it can be prevented.”

Anyone with information on this or other scans can call the West Shore RCMP at 250-474-2264 or Crime Stoppers at 1-800-222-8477.

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