N.W.T. RCMP investigating online scam involving gift cards

·2 min read

Northwest Territories RCMP are investigating an online scam in which a resident of the territory lost thousands of dollars, it said in a news release Friday afternoon.

Police said the man was notified through Facebook Messenger that he had won a cash prize. He was later told that to get the prize, he needed to buy gift cards and send the pin online to the suspect.

"The victim was convinced this was legitimate and did so, resulting in a personal financial loss of several thousand dollars," reads the release.

The RCMP said it was not releasing the name of the victim or the community in which he lives in order to protect his identity and because "this type of occurrence can happen anywhere."

This type of scam has been tried a few times in the Northwest Territories over the past few years, according to the RCMP's news release.

"In other cases, the suspect will obtain employment details of a subject using an online phishing technique and pose as the persons' boss and create a sense of urgency to purchase the cards and send the information right away," said the release.

Never reveal pin number of gift cards

The N.W.T. RCMP are reminding people that if they're asked to buy gift cards or send money to someone that's not part of their family or close circle of friends, "it's very likely a scam."

The release states you should never reveal the pin number of a gift card to anyone online or to someone you don't know.

RCMP is also urging business owners to question anyone who is buying a lot of gift cards to make sure the buyer is not the victim of fraud.

"This type of fraud is easy to prevent, but very difficult to investigate, as the suspects are often from other countries," said Staff Sgt. Dean Riou of the N.W.T. RCMP's federal investigations unit, in the release.

Police are asking anyone with information on fraud or any other criminal activity to call Yellowknife RCMP at 669-1111 or text "nwtnutips," plus your message, to 274637.