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Police praise alert shopping clerk who stopped a scam

'We occasionally have sharp-eyed cashiers who will recognize an unusual purchase of gift cards and contact us for follow-up as happened in this case'
scam alert
Scam alert! (via Shutterstock)

The North Bay Police Service is praising a clerk at Shoppers on Josephine Street located at the north end of the city. 

"Thank you to the sharp-eyed clerk at Shoppers on Josephine," the North Bay Police Service stated via social media on the weekend. 

"A customer was trying to buy $1,000 in gift cards and she recognized he was the victim of a scam.  She called the police so we could help her convince him someone was trying to steal his money!"

David Woolley, corporate communications officer with the North Bay Police Service says scams asking people to provide money via gifts cards are fairly common.

"A common scam we see involves scammers persuading victims that they owe outstanding payments to Revenue Canada and have to pay by purchasing gift cards," Woolley explains.  

"Scammers request gift cards because they are difficult to trace and when they are purchased and activated legitimately the scammer can sell the gift cards at a reduced rate to unsuspecting buyers or use the cards for purchasing merchandise themselves."

The Police Service appreciates when clerks or other people recognize a scam is about to unfold.   

"We occasionally have sharp-eyed cashiers who will recognize an unusual purchase of gift cards and contact us for follow-up as happened in this case," said Woolley. 

"We applaud the employee in this instance and would encourage everyone to speak up if they see something that doesn't seem right. Scammers generally target the elderly so clerks should be on the lookout, particularly for elderly people making large, unusual purchases of gift cards without a reasonable explanation.

"They may give an excuse that it is for their grandchildren or a relative who wants to come to visit them. People should realize that the normal methods of payments or transferring money to relatives do not include the purchase of gift cards and legitimate companies or government agencies never take payment via gift card. If you see someone buying hundreds or thousands of dollars worth of gift cards don't hesitate to contact the police so we can help educate the potential victim on the methods of scammers."

The North Bay Police Service followed up this example of a Scam by warning the public about other online extortion and blackmail cases that have been reported recently.

"The North Bay Police says victims are contacted by scammers through social media and dating sites like Tinder, Bumble, Instagram, and Snapchat.

"Once a conversation begins, the scammers quickly shift the conversation to one of a sexual nature and ask to switch messaging platforms before requesting intimate photos of the victim," stated David Woolley, 

Once in possession of compromising photos and texts, the scammers threaten to release the content unless the victim provides payment.

NBPS encourages the public to be cautious of any contacts made online. Do not share any personal information, photos, or details with people you do not know and trust.

Red Flags to look for:

  • Does the profile seem suspicious?
  • Is the conversation escalating quickly?
  • Are they asking to switch platforms?
  • Are they asking for personal information?

If you or one of your loved ones has been a victim of these scammers, contact the North Bay Police Service at 705-472-1234 to speak with an officer.

Chris Dawson

About the Author: Chris Dawson

Chris Dawson has been with since 2004. He has provided up-to-the-minute sports coverage and has become a key member of the BayToday news team.
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