Saanich police are warning about gift card scams after a resident lost money. (Black Press Media file photo)

Saanich police are warning about gift card scams after a resident lost money. (Black Press Media file photo)

Saanich police warn of gift card fraud after resident falls victim to scam

Canadian Anti-Fraud Center reports about $15.8 million lost in 2020 so far

Police are warning Saanich residents to be wary of fraud after a local recently fell victim to a gift card scam.

The Saanich Police Department hasn’t seen too many scams relating to COVID-19 as other jurisdictions have but public information officer Const. Markus Anastasiades is warning residents to look out for schemes involving gift cards.

Anastasiades explained that people have reported receiving texts or emails from scammers pretending to be someone they know – for example, their boss – and asking them to purchase gift cards. The scammer then asks that the person scratch the back of the gift cards and send them the information on the back so the funds can be used without having the physical card.

READ ALSO: RCMP, prime minister warn of text scam related to COVID-19 relief

Recently, a Saanich resident fell victim to the scam and picked up several Google Play gift cards and sent the information to a scammer who then asked them to buy more, Anastasiades explained. When the resident returned to the store for more Google Play cards, the clerk caught on and asked if someone was telling them to buy the cards.

Luckily, the clerk was able to refund some of the gift cards but the resident did lose money, Anastasiades said. He pointed out that while clerks in Saanich aren’t specifically advised by police about the signs of scams, many are aware of the most common ones due to media coverage and are able to step in.

Anastasiades emphasized that it’s important to be wary of anyone asking for gift cards, money, Bitcoin or anything unusual. He added that scammers can spoof emails and phone numbers and pretend to be someone the victim knows.

READ ALSO: Police seize 1,500 fake COVID-19 tests being sold in B.C.

“They’re very crafty and clever,” Anastasiades said. He recommends calling the person to confirm it’s really them before making any purchases or sending funds.

Anastasiades explained that it’s important for anyone who’s been contacted by a scammer to report it to police and to the Canadian Anti-Fraud Centre. This allows officials to investigate the incident and track trends to protect others, he said pointing out that there’s no need to be embarrassed when it comes to scams.

According to the Anti-Fraud Centre, by the end of March, Canadians had reported nearly 13,000 cases of fraud in 2020 and $15.8 million in total losses so far.


@devonscarlett
Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

devon.bidal@saanichnews.com

Saanich Police DepartmentScams

Just Posted

The Victoria International Airport saw its revenues plummet in 2020. Officials hope a proposed warehouse will be a significant revenue generator. (Black Press Media file photo)
Head of Victoria Airport Authority makes economic pitch for Sidney warehouse project

Geoff Dickson said Sidney stands to earn $325,000 in annual taxes

Participants take part in a previous Walk for Alzheimer’s. This year’s event is being held virtually and participants are asked to set a walking or fitness challenge during May. (Black Press Media file photo)
Greater Victoria residents invited to set fitness challenge for Alzheimer’s

IG Wealth Management Walk for Alzheimer’s goes virtual during the month of May

Troy Patterson, a Cadboro Bay 15-year-old, got a virtual meeting with B.C.’s environment minister months after he started an online petition calling for construction of the Coastal GasLink pipeline to stop. (Jake Romphf/News Staff)
Cadboro Bay teen meets with minister after advocacy against Coastal GasLink

15-year-old Claremont student and George Heyman discussed the project for about 30 minutes

The City of Victoria hopes to improve its cultural spaces this year and it wants non-profits to help. (Black Press Media File Photo)
Grants up to $125,000 open to Victoria non-profit arts and cultural organizations

Victoria Cultural Infrastructure Grant applications close at the end of May

Sofia Watts, Charlotte Magill and Harriet Knight were among the KELSET Elementary School students releasing salmon fry into Reay Creek May 7. (Ian Bruce/Submitted)
Saanich Peninsula elementary students help restock, clean up local creeks

Salmon fry releases took place at Reay Creek and Tetayut Creek

Daily confirmed COVID-19 cases reported to B.C. public health, seven-day rolling average in white, to May 12, 2021. (B.C. Centre for Disease Control)
B.C. preparing ‘Restart 2.0’ from COVID-19 as June approaches

Daily infections fall below 500 Friday, down to 387 in hospital

A vial of AstraZeneca vaccine is seen at a mass COVID-19 vaccination clinic in Calgary, Alta., Thursday, April 22, 2021. Dr. Ben Chan remembers hearing the preliminary reports back in March of blood clots appearing in a handful of European recipients of the Oxford-AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccine. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jeff McIntosh
Science on COVID, VITT constantly changing: A look at how doctors keep up

While VITT can represent challenges as a novel disorder, blood clots themselves are not new

Poached trees that were taken recently on Vancouver Island in the Mount Prevost area near Cowichan, B.C. are shown on Sunday, May 10, 2021. Big trees, small trees, dead trees, softwoods and hardwoods have all become valuable targets of tree poachers in British Columbia as timber prices hit record levels. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jen Osborne.
Tree poaching from public forests increasing in B.C. as lumber hits record prices

Prices for B.C. softwood lumber reached $1,600 for 1,000 board feet compared with about $300 a year ago

The warm weather means time for a camping trip, or at least an excursion into nature. How much do you know about camps and camping-related facts? (John Arendt - Summerland Review)
QUIZ: Are you ready to go camping?

How many camp and camping-related questions can you answer?

On Friday, May 14 at Meadow Gardens Golf Club in Pitt Meadows, Michael Caan joined a very elite club of golfers who have shot under 60 (Instagram)
Crowds at English Bay were blasted with a large beam of light from an RCMP Air-1 helicopter on Friday, May 14. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Marc Grandmaison
Police enlist RCMP helicopter to disperse thousands crowded on Vancouver beach

On Friday night, police were witness to ‘several thousand people staying well into the evening’

Sinikka Gay Elliott was reported missing on Salt Spring Island on Wednesday, May 12. (Courtesty Salt Spring RCMP)
Body of UBC professor found on Salt Spring Island, no foul play suspected

Sinikka Elliott taught sociology at the university

The first Black judge named to the BC Supreme Court, Selwyn Romilly, was handcuffed at 9:15 a.m. May 14 while walking along the seawall. (YouTube/Screen grab)
Police apologize after wrongly arresting B.C.’s first Black Supreme Court Justice

At 81 years old, the retired judge was handcuffed in public while out for a walk Friday morning

Queen Elizabeth II and Clive Holland, deputy commonwealth president of the Royal Life Saving Society, top left, virtually present Dr. Steve Beerman, top right, with the King Edward VII Cup for his drowning-prevention work. Tanner Gorille and Sarah Downs were honoured with Russell Medals for their life-saving resuscitation. (Buckingham Palace photo)
Queen presents Vancouver Island doctor with award for global drowning prevention

Dr. Steve Beerman receives Royal Life Saving Society’s King Edward VII Cup at virtual ceremony

Most Read