WINNIPEG - An elaborate scam involving stealing prepaid credit cards from stores and then returning them minus the cards has police warning the public to check their purchased cards carefully.
The scammer will steal inactive prepaid credit cards (in their packaging) from a store. They will then replace the real credit card with a blank or used credit card. Sometimes a sticker or paper will be applied to the blank card to make it appear legitimate. They will then re-seal the packaging and place them back in the store.
The fake card often cannot be seen from within the packaging, and an unassuming customer or cashier may not notice the package has been tampered with. Most prepaid credit cards are activated at the time of purchase using a magnetic strip on the packaging – not the card.
Example of a prepaid credit card that has been swapped.
Note that the fraudulent blank card has a paper/sticker affixed to the rear of it.
The scammer will later try to use the card, hoping that it will become active when a customer purchases the tampered packaging. Many customers may not realize the card has been swapped until after the holidays (if they were purchased as a gift).
When purchasing prepaid credit cards, please carefully examine the packaging. If you notice anything unusual, please alert a store employee or contact the prepaid card’s vendor. Anyone purchasing them as a holiday gift may wish to open the packaging beforehand to confirm the card’s authenticity.
Reports of tampered prepaid gift cards can be made to the Winnipeg Police Service, the Canadian Anti-Fraud Centre and/or the vendor of the card.