Local merchants are warned to be vigilant after a debit machine fraud surfaced last week in Nanaimo. Several stores have had fraudulent transactions carried out that have netted thieves several thousand dollars. Several males and at least one female are involved and only small businesses with one or two clerks are being targeted.
Once in the store, one suspect approaches the clerk and begins to make a small purchase. He uses a debit card and once it is inserted into the portable debit machine, the second suspect attempts to distract the clerk. This allows the first suspect to enter the store’s generic merchant authorization code, which he knows. The original purchase is then canceled and he quickly rips off the printed copy. With the clerk still distracted he refunds between $100 and $1,000 into his debit account. Once complete, the original item is purchased and he leaves the store.
The first suspect is a white male, approximately 6-1 and in his early 30s. He has light brown hair, a goatee and has some tattoos on his upper arms. The second male is white, early 20s, standing about 5-5. The taller male has been accompanied by a female who is white, about 5-5 with long blonde hair. On one occasion, she was wearing a black dress and carried a red neon purse. The vehicle they were seen driving is a newer model dark colored Lincoln Navigator.
“Merchants must change their merchant authorization code to a unique password known only to them, otherwise they too could fall prey to this fraud. We are aware that this fraud has been carried out in at least one other jurisdiction on the Island and we are liaising with the officers involved to further our investigations,” said Const. Gary O’Brien of the Nanaimo RCMP.
Contact the Duncan-North Cowichan RCMP detachment for further information at 250-748-5522.
Call 911 if the suspects are present.