Calgary Store Clerk Stops Credit Card Fraud in Progress

14 April 2015

Calgary police are crediting the arrest of a 26-year-old man for credit card fraud to an alert store clerk who caught him in the act.

According to Staff Sergeant Kristie Verheul with the Calgary Police’s economic crimes unit, the clerk’s suspicions were raised when the man attempted to use a gift card to purchase his items. When she swiped the gift card through the checkout terminal, the screen prompted her to insert the chip card, which was unusual because gift cards are not typically associated with a chip. This raised the clerk’s suspicions, along with the man’s suspicious behavior at the counter. She called police, who arrested Brandon Martell, 26, and charged him with six counts of possession of credit card data.

Sgt. Verheul praised the clerk’s quick actions, saying that the technique of loading stolen credit card data is common among credit card fraudsters.

“There are swiping devices that load data onto any kind of mag stripe. Fraudsters get the credit card data, they swipe that data onto a blank card, and that blank card takes on the personality data of the credit card they have,” she told the Calgary Herald.

Most bank and credit cards now come with their information loaded onto chips, which require the card to be inserted for security rather than swiped. Calgary police, emphasizing the commonness of the gift card strategy for credit card fraud, is asking merchants to be especially careful to insert, not swipe, chip cards and never to manually enter in gift card information, as the information might come up as associated with a chip card, as it did in this case.

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