FYI- Fraud Alert – Credit Card Scam in Saskatchewan

Attention all tourism businesses, operators, organizations and stakeholders:

It has come to Tourism Saskatchewan’s attention that several Saskatchewan tourism businesses have been approached by individuals claiming to be tourists/customers, who are, in fact, practicing credit card fraud.

The “customer” (who originates from the United Kingdom) calls or emails the tourism business to book a trip. The contact seems legitimate, and includes normal questions asking for rates and booking details. This individual will then book a trip/stay using a valid credit card, and pay in full. However, a few days after the booking, a follow up email will be sent by this person, asking to cancel the trip due to a death in the family (or other such reason). So far, this would appear legitimate. However, the person then asks for a full refund for the trip, and requests that the refund to be credited using a wire cash transfer OR to a totally different credit card. The reason provided for this change is that they lost their wallet/credit card.

The Saskatchewan tourism operator who encountered this fraud, after consulting the credit card company, contacted the real owner. It was verified that this person had no idea that a trip was booked using their card, and a full refund was applied to this original card. The operator also reported it to the credit card’s Merchant Services department, who will do a further investigation. As stated, the person whose card was used for payment had absolutely no idea that it had been compromised.

The individual who booked the trip went by the name “Nordic Needleman” for this particular booking. However, other names are likely being used. Again, the address for the credit card holder was based out of the United Kingdom, and the credentials for the original credit card (address, phone number, etc.) were legimate as they belonged to the victim of the fraud.

As always, please exercise caution with all bookings. If any customer asks for a cash refund via wire transfer, or to apply the refund to a different credit card other than the one that was used in the original booking, that is a red flag. Tourism Saskatchewan recommends that you contact the credit card issuer (Visa, Amex, MasterCard, etc.). They can investigate to find out if the cardholder of the original card is the same person as the one asking for the refund, and if the original person knows about this transaction.

In addition, if you think you or someone you know has been a victim of fraud, please contact the Canadian Anti-Fraud Centre 1-888-495-8501 or http://www.antifraudcentre.ca.

For more information on the variety of frauds and scams that exist, and how to protect yourself and your business, please refer to the resources below:

Canadian Anti-Fraud Centre:
http://www.antifraudcentre-centreantifraude.ca

Visa Merchant Risk Management
http://usa.visa.com/merchants/risk_management/card_not_present.html

Global Visa Card-Not-Present Merchant Guide to Greater Fraud Control
http://usa.visa.com/download/merchants/global-visa-card-not-present-merchant-guide-to-greater-fraud-control.pdf

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Source: Tourism Saskatoon- March 14, 2013 Industry Update