Fraud ring investigation grows

The Qoola fraud investigation by detectives continues to grow.

As of today, six Saanich Police detectives are assigned to the investigation. They are working extensively with other agencies to further the investigation.

Yesterday, a search warrant was obtained for the vehicle that was used by the suspects. A search of the 2000 Mercedes, was conducted and further evidence was recovered from the vehicle. This included credit cards, credit card numbers and a laptop computer. More search warrants are expected in the coming days.

Investigators have determined that these suspects were targeting younger clerks at smaller retailers. Often the cards show an error of some type when they are inserted in the machine. The suspects then would convince the clerk to swipe the card themselves at the till. Sometimes it would take up to three attempts for the card to work. Retailers are reminded that manually swiping cards at the till can be a violation of their agreement with the company.

All of the evidence recovered thus far is undergoing a thorough forensics examination by Saanich Police technicians.

All four appeared in provincial court yesterday. Two have been released with strict conditions that include not to contact co-accused, not to go to Vancouver Island, not to possess any credit/debit card in another persons name, etc.

Agencies involved in the investigation include RCMP Commercial Crimes- Island District and Lower Mainland; Vancouver Police Financial Crimes; Service Canada and Passport Canada; and, investigators from all the major banking and credit card companies.

Another way for small businesses to protect themselves is to participate in Business Watch. This program emulates Neighbourhood Watch but is specific to businesses. If you are not a member of Business Watch please contact our Crime Prevention officer at 250-475-4346.


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