Ottawa police issue warning about prepaid gift card scam

Ottawa police are asking people to be wary about a scam that’s affected at least one business in the city.

Police say that employees at businesses, particularly those in administrative positions, have received an email that appears to originate from the CEO of their respective company.


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According to police, the emails ask the employee to purchase prepaid gift cards, copy the numbers and then send those numbers back to the person.

After an investigation, it was determined that the original email closely resembles the actual CEO’s email, and from an address that may only differ by one or two letters, use a different character or even as a slightly different domain name.

Police say that by the time the person is informed that the actual CEO never requested the cards, the balance would be spent, often within minutes in foreign countries.

Police say these numbers are usually sold online in foreign countries.


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To avoid scams like this, police are asking that companies enact strict protocols when it comes to ordering and authorizing financial transactions within companies.

It’s also encouraged that people keep a very close eye on email addresses as scammers get better and better at spoofing real email addresses.

The Ottawa Police Service’s organized fraud unit is asking potential victims of this same scam to report it to Ottawa police at 613-236-1222 ext. 7300 or online at ottawapolice.ca.

Anonymous tips can also be submitted by calling Crime Stoppers at 1-800-222-8477 (TIPS), or by downloading the Ottawa police app.

© 2018 Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.

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