Vernon RCMP thwart credit card fraud

Surrey man under investigation throughout Okanagan and Lower Mainland after being found with fraudulent credit cards...

Something didn’t seem right to the clerk at a Vernon jewelry store.

Just after 2:30 p.m. on Thursday, a man entered Gold N Time Jewellry on 30th Avenue and bought a $4,000 ring using a credit card.

The card would not swipe so the clerk manually entered the number.

“Afterwards, the clerk was a bit suspicious and contacted Visa where it was learned that it was a case of fraud,” said Vernon RCMP spokesperson Gord Molendyk. “Our office was called and our officers contacted Visa as part of the investigation.  Visa confirmed a similar card had also been used at a local restaurant and possibly a motel.”

Lucky for the jewelry store that the clerk spotted the male suspect a couple of hours later and alerted police who were able to arrest the man and recover the ring bought with the fraudulent credit card.

That was just the beginning.

“When the suspect was arrested, the investigation determined he had many pieces of false identification on him as well as Vanilla Visa cards in the name of Baker,” said Molendyk. “Our officers were able to get a search warrant for the motel room the suspect was staying at.  Numerous items relating to cedit card forgery and identity fraud were seized.”

The 28-year-old suspect is from Surrey. He is described as a Caucasian male with shaved head, good build and tattoos on his neck and shoulder.

Charges of fraud, forgery, utter a forged document, and using a forged credit card are being recommended as a result of the local investigation.

“The investigation is still ongoing and police in the Okanagan Valley are tracking down other frauds the suspect has allegedly committed from Penticton to Vernon, and possibly the Lower Mainland,” said Molendyk.

The RCMP caution local businesses as to how these offences are being committed.

A person will come in to the business with what appears to be a valid credit card but it is actually a forged pre-paid-type card.

“The magnetic stripe on the back is purposely scratched or damaged so it won’t swipe properly,” said Molendyk. “The suspect or merchant will then manually enter the number which is stolen or “swiped” from someone’s legitimate card and it works.”

Another variation is the suspect will insert a card into the chip reader and then wiggle it to create a chip reading error and then manually enter a number after being prompted.

If you are not sure on a transaction call the credit card company for confirmation.

“When something twigs or the number doesn’t go through and the person is very persistent about typing in the numbers, that’s when alarm bells should be going off,” said Molendyk.