A local businessman is warning other store owners of the latest scam involving stolen credit cards. (File Photo)

A local businessman is warning other store owners of the latest scam involving stolen credit cards. (File Photo)

Greater Victoria businesses lose thousands of dollars in credit card scams

Affected businesses want to spread the word to make sure it doesn’t happen to anyone else

A recent credit card scam in Greater Victoria is costing local businesses money.

Robert Barron, owner of Re-Buy-Cycle Shop in Langford, is out thousands of dollars. The bike shop spends much of its time doing volunteer work, including a free bike exchange program for kids and also donates bikes to community members at Westmont School and for Syrian refugees.

“Trying to run a business off of 30 to 40 per cent of your time is a challenge, and now this happens,” Barron said. “This really could put me out of business – it’s devastating.”

Re-Buy-Cycle has had eight chargebacks for over $5,000 from prepaid credit cards used to purchase bikes. It came through the point of sale (POS) device as a “forced sale”.

Barron said four different prepaid cards were used. One card was used three times and had three different signatures attached to it. They even asked one customer, who had been in twice to purchase high-end bikes, for his identification, which he provided and it checked out. Barron said even his bank said the transactions and signatures look official.

Barron has made calls to other bike shops and local businesses to make them aware of the situation, noting “it’s on my mind everywhere I go, I’m losing sleep over it,” he said.

He is working on resolving the issue but his POS provider, First Data, only allows disputes five days after the chargeback occurs. Black Press Media has reached out to the company and are awaiting a response.

READ ALSO: Credit card scam active on West Shore

Jason McLean, owner of Delhi, a restaurant on Government Street, was scammed by a man who purchased two soft drinks and then told McLean that he had overcharged him. The drinks were $5.25, but the “forced sale” receipt said he was charged $52.25.

The “forced sale” on the receipt is common in his business as he has a lot of American customers through his restaurant and their foreign credit card transactions go through as forced sales. McLean said the restaurant has never refunded customers before, so he thought it was strange, but refunded it anyway.

Further to refunding the money, there was a chargeback on McLean’s statement from First Data.

He called the company to dispute the chargeback, but they said he was told the onus is on the store to get a signature from the customer. The store is run by McLean and his wife, so he doesn’t have time to hover over people while they pay for their food as he’s getting orders ready.

McLean called and left a message with West Shore RCMP on Sunday to report the incident but has yet to receive a response.

Black Press Media contacted West Shore RCMP for comment but have not received a response.

“It’s our first scam in over three years, it’s definitely a learning experience for us,” McLean said. “We’ve told other businesses out here how they do it.”

He said the incident changes the way the store handles their payment processes. Delhi no longer accepts prepaid cards and they have put a lock on the refund button on their POS.

READ ALSO: Saanich Police warn of increasing number of scams

Cory Kowalchuck, owner of WestShore Gold and Silver, a jewelry store in Langford, was nearly scammed by what he described as a man in his 30s and a woman in her early 20s.

He noticed the behaviour of the duo in the store was strange.

“He had a hat pulled down fairly low while he was looking at the jewelry, they were kind of jumpy and made some contradictory statements,” Kowlachuck said.

The man picked out a bracelet and went to pay for it, telling the girl that if his card went through he would buy something for her. The card he used to pay for it was a MyVanilla Plus prepaid swipe card and when the man swiped his credit card the transaction went through as a “forced sale”. The man told his girlfriend it was working so they began picking out other items quickly without trying anything on – all amounting to a few thousand dollars.

He realized the two were up to something and asked for the man’s card and the bracelet back while he called Elavon, his POS provider. He was told that the transaction was likely fraudulent and that he would probably get a chargeback, plus a fine. Kowalchuck reversed the transaction right away.

READ ALSO: Be careful buying school supplies online

The two left the store empty-handed but the man returned less than an hour later in different clothes and said he really wanted the bracelet, to which Kowalchuck confronted him that he was aware of the man’s scam.

Kowalchck explained that the “forced sale” does have a purpose in his business, if the power goes out or wifi connection is cut he can still push a sale through.

After it happened Kowalchuck called local jewelry stores to give them a heads up and he shared photos from his security cameras on social media.

In all cases, it’s still a mystery as to how the scammers forced the card through, if they use a code that goes into machine, bypassing the authority from the credit card company or if they called their credit card company later to dispute the charges.


Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter

lindsey.horsting@goldstreamgazette.com

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

A weekend of sunny skies may have Victoria breaking temperature records, according to an Environment Canada meteorologist. (Jane Skrypnek/News Staff)
Temperature records eyed for Victoria with sunny weekend forcast

Victoria hit the highest April 14 temperature since 1926 on Wednesday

Fire crews respond to the 3500-block of Blanshard Street in Saanich on April 16. (Devon Bidal/News Staff)
UPDATED: Saanich fire crews close road over smoking underground electrical equipment

Police diverting traffic as Vernon Avenue closed to all through traffic

A man accused of sexual assault has resigned as a coach at Castaway Wanderers Rugby Club and has had his employment suspended at The Local. (Google Streetview/Screenshot)
Rugby coach resigns, is suspended from Victoria restaurant following sexual assault allegations

Social media page creates a safe space for survivors to share their stories

A GoFundMe has been launched in memory of an eight-year-old boy who drowned at a Hotel Zed pool in Victoria on March 24. (Jane Andema/GoFundMe)
GoFundMe started in memory of 8-year-old boy who died at Hotel Zed pool

Child drowned after wandering off to the pool alone

Smoke is visible from the Trans-Canada Highway, April 16 around 12:15 p.m. (Black Press Media photo)
UPDATED: Saanich fire crews truck in water as hog fuel fire smoulders

No injuries reported following fire at greenhouse near Burnside West and Prospect Lake roads

Rainbow trouts thrashing with life as they’re about to be transferred to the largest lake of their lives, even though it’s pretty small. These rainbows have a blue tinge because they matched the blue of their hatchery pen, but soon they’ll take on the green-browns of their new home at Lookout Lake. (Zoe Ducklow/News Staff)
VIDEO: Lookout Lake stocked with hatchery trout to delight of a seniors fishing club

The Cherish Trout Scouts made plans to come back fishing soon

Royal Inland Hospital in Kamloops. (Dave Eagles/Kamloops This Week file photo)
RCMP intercept vehicle fleeing with infant taken from Kamloops hospital

The baby was at the hospital receiving life-saving care

Vancouver Police Const. Deepak Sood is under review by the Independent Investigations Office of B.C. after making comments to a harm reduction advocate Sunday, April 11. (Screen grab)
VIDEO: Vancouver officer convicted of uttering threats under watchdog review again

Const. Deepak Sood was recorded Sunday saying ‘I’ll smack you’ and ‘go back to selling drugs’ to a harm reduction advocate

Provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry prepares a daily update on the coronavirus pandemic, April 21, 2020. (B.C. Government)
B.C.’s COVID-19 infection rate persists, 1,005 new cases Friday

Hospitalization up to 425, six more virus-related deaths

The Nautical Dog Cafe at Skaha marina is getting its patio ready in hopes Mother Nature will provide where provincial restrictions have taken away indoor dining. (Facebook)
‘A lot of instability’: B.C. restaurants in layoff limbo

As COVID-19 cases stay high, restaurants in British Columbia are closed to indoor dining

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau looks on as Deputy Prime Minister and Finance Minister Chrystia Freeland responds to a question during a news conference on Parliament Hill in Ottawa, Tuesday, Aug. 18, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Adrian Wyld
Expectations high as Trudeau Liberals get ready to unveil first pandemic budget

The Liberals will look to thread an economic needle with Monday’s budget

John Furlong, Own The Podium board chairman and former CEO of the Vancouver Olympics, addresses a Vancouver Board of Trade luncheon in Vancouver, B.C., on Wednesday November 25, 2015.THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck
John Furlong presents 2030 Winter Games vision to Vancouver Board of Trade

Vancouver and Whistler would remain among host sites because of 2010 sport venues still operational

Photo by Metro Creative Connection
New campgrounds coming to B.C. parks as part of $83M provincial boost

This season alone, 185 campsites are being added to provincial parks, says Minister of Environment and Climate Change

The Nanaimo Clippers’ game against the Alberni Valley Bulldogs slated for Thursday, April 15, has been postponed due to a “potential positive COVID-19 test result,” says the BCHL. (News Bulletin file photo)
Nanaimo Clippers COVID-19 test negative, team can practise and play

Junior A hockey team had suspended activities the day before out of ‘abundance of caution’

Most Read