Debit card skimming scam disguised as new spa in Edmonton

EPS Economic Crimes Section detectives have received several reports from people who have fallen victim to an apparent card skimming scam disguised as offering reduced-rate services at a spa that doesn’t exist.

In this particular case, the suspects present themselves as representatives of a spa that is supposedly opening in a north Edmonton mall. Potential customers have been approached on the street, inside malls, and at a kiosk in a local hospital. They are offered spa services at reduced rates if they purchase the service immediately. Their debit or credit cards are swiped on a hand-held machine, making it look like a legitimate transaction; however, the initial transactions don’t go through the account. Cash was also accepted as payment.

“It appears that the account information is being skimmed and stored in the machine, and is then used to access the victim’s bank account within days of the initial transaction,” says Detective Bob Gauthier with Economic Crimes.

“We have confirmed with the north side mall that there are no plans for this particular spa to open at that location,” adds Det. Gauthier. “We also checked out the listed website and phone numbers connected to this alleged business, and we found extremely vague information and non-descript answering machine messages.”

“If something doesn’t seem right, or a deal seems too good to be true, do your research before you make a decision,” says Det. Gauthier. “As a general preventive measure, check your account activity and change your PIN frequently.”

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