RCMP investigating alleged Valley-wide fraud

RCMP said a man arrested in Vernon allegedly has committed fraud throughout the Valley from Vernon to Penticton.

RCMP said a man arrested in Vernon allegedly has committed fraud throughout the Valley.

A clerk at a Vernon jewelry store felt something wasn’t right when a man purchased a $4,000 ring using a credit card on Thursday. The card would not swipe so the clerk manually entered the number. Still feeling suspicious the clerk contact Visa afterwards and learned that it was a case of fraud. Visa confirmed to RCMP that a similar card had also been used at a Vernon restaurant and possibly a motel.

RCMP then arrested a 28 year old Surrey man in Vernon and seized numerous items relating to credit card forgery and identity fraud at the motel room he was staying at. “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 Vernon RCMP spokesperson Gord Molendyk.

The RCMP said when the man was arrested he had many pieces of false identification on him as well as Vanilla Visa cards in the name of Baker.

The Surrey man is described as Caucasian with a 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 Vernon investigation.

Penticton RCMP Sgt. Rick Dellebuur said at this time he is not aware of any fraudulent activity in Penticton that this is tied to. He added fraud has become a common allegation they investigate and quite frequently are warning the public about.

“We have a lot of that here unfortunately,” said Dellebuur. “There is always a different twist on it. The latest one we have seen is where they get a cheque and they go to the money cashing businesses and change the names and numbers on the cheque. All of these types of fraud are ongoing.”

Counterfeiters use the latest computer devices to read and copy data encoded on a credit card’s magnetic stripe, eventually transferring the date to a counterfeit or blank card. Dellebuur said sometimes businesses don’t report the fraudulent events or report only to the credit card company because ultimately what they want is their money back.

“Quite often that doesn’t happen, but getting them charged sends some consequences and hopefully some sort of deterrent,” said Dellebuur.

-With files from Roger Knox, Black Press