How a Neils Harbor business helped end a gift card scam

Nova Scotia constables say employees of a small Cape Breton grocery store should be thanked for spotting a gift card scam and telling two victims.

In mid-June, a Neils Harbor Co-op customer purchased about 20 gift cards totaling $ 7,000.

“Basically the spider’s senses kicked in,” said Susan Dowling, acting grocery store manager. “I went to ask him, ‘Sir, why are you buying all these gift cards? “And I tried to explain to him that there were a lot of scams.”

RCMP say scammers often ask for payments or gifts that are not easy to track, like gift cards.

The man told Dowling that the cards were given to a family in another country.

Unable to convince the man he was being ripped off, Dowling said she looked at the store’s camera as he left the store. Among the purchases he made were five $ 500 gift cards at a beauty store.

Talk to a crook

Fortunately, Dowling said the man returned about 10 minutes later to say the cards were not working.

“This crook recalls and [the man] give me the phone, “Dowling said.” And then he hung up on me. “

The RCMP were called in hopes they could explain the scam to the man. With the help of the mounted police, Dowling finally convinces the client that he was being duped.

“I understand the victim was going to… buy more gift cards believing the scammers were legitimate people,” said RCMP spokesperson Cpl. Chris Marshall.

Dowling said most of the money the man lost to the scam was refunded by his credit card provider.

Another targeted customer

Dowling said another man walked into the co-op a few weeks ago to purchase gift cards.

Dowling’s husband, who is the manager of the store, asked his wife to go talk to him about it. Dowling said the customer told him that a family friend requested them through Facebook.

“In my heart I was thinking, ‘I don’t have a good feeling about this,’” she said. “I mean, I feel so bad for them. I didn’t think they [got] he.”

Unable to convince the man that it could be a scam, Dowling called the RCMP to express his concerns. She then found a family member and told them what was going on.

“We would like to thank the employees for seeing the situation as it was and for keeping us informed,” said Marshall. “We were able to stop [the scam] to continue and in the second case we were able to stop this before the second victim was a victim of fraud. “

The Canadian Anti-Fraud Center says more people could fall victim to scams due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

In Nova Scotia, nearly 1,500 people have lost a total of $ 2.3 million to fraud over the past four years.

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