OPP Warn of “Overcharge Scam”

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WAWA – NEWS – Scam artists and fraudsters keep their efforts going to take from others.

The Superior East Detachment of the Ontario Provincial Police (OPP) would like merchants to be vigilant for a type of credit card fraud that involves the suspect manipulating a point of sale (POS) terminal.

In as little as 10 seconds, the suspect can alter the total amount being charged to a credit card. After the total amount is changed, they navigate the POS terminal to the point where a credit card number can be entered manually. A stolen credit card number is then entered and subsequently charged the full amount.

Once the transaction is completed, the suspect points out to the cashier that they have been overcharged. The suspect will then try to use the credit card they pretended to pay with, knowing that the transaction will be declined. Many merchants will then agree to refund the “overcharged” amount to a different credit or debit card.

In these cases, not only does the suspect leave the store with all of the merchandise, but they also leave with “overcharged” cash in their bank account that has been charged to a third party’s credit card.

The following are some tips for merchants to assist in preventing and detecting POS terminal manipulation frauds:

  • Familiarize yourself and your staff with the POS terminals used by your business.
  • Password protect processes like manual card entry and changing total charge amounts.
  • If a refund is declined, look closer at the initial transaction prior to refunding a different credit or debit card.
  • If you suspect someone is in the process of defrauding your business, or has already succeeded in doing so, please report it to police.
  • The suspect may take advantage of a business being busy in order to pressure the cashier to get the transaction completed quickly.

If someone has committed a fraud such as this at your business, they have likely succeeded multiple times at other businesses before and will continue to offend. The more reports that the police have, the more likely it is that the offenders will be caught and held accountable. So please protect yourselves from fraudsters and take the time to report them!

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