RCC has been made aware of a gift card scam which is affecting some Canadian Consumers. While the victim is the customer, retailers are of course very concerned with anything that has an adverse effect on our customers.

The Scam: The fraudster calls an unknowing customer at their home with one of several fabricated stories involving back taxes owed, or a jailed nephew. The concerned customer is convinced by the fraudster to buy gift cards as a way of transferring monies to the fraudster to clear their tax bill, or bail their relative out of jail. For the most part this has been with iTunes gift cards (as they are easily converted to cash without requiring the physical card present). Later, the fraudster calls back and obtains the card numbers and pins over the phone from the customer who unsuspectingly purchased a block of cards from a local store. The virtual cards are subsequently redeemed (amounts up to $6000 at one time). When the customer realizes this is a scam, they attempt to refund the physical cards at the retailer from which they were purchased only to find out the balance is zero!

Member To Do:

RCC has been in contact with the Canadian Anti-Fraud Centre which has provided material that can be used to notify your customers of this scam which in one city alone is netting over $100,000 per month.

Should you wish to notify your customer to be aware when purchasing a significant amount of gift cards, the Centre has requested support from local Law Enforcement Agencies. If your customers have fallen victim to this type of scam, please let local law enforcement know that the Central Investigating body is: Canadian Anti-Fraud Centre

Canada Revenue Agency (CRA) has also prepared the following warning material which can be prominently displayed at your gift card kiosk.

Apple has provided the following steps to assist customers who have fallen victim to this scam.

If you have any questions or concerns, please don’t hesitate to contact: David Wilkes, Senior Vice President at: [email protected] or 416-467-3767