Medicine Hat, Alberta – The Medicine Hat Police Service Community Intelligence Team and Priority Street Crimes Unit completed a short term credit card fraud investigation that resulted in a search warrants being executed at a business located on Trans Canada Way SE.
As a result of the search warrants, police recovered credit cards, driver’s licenses, methamphetamine and other offence related property.
Subsequently, Tamara MONAHAN AKA: MASER, 29 years old, of Medicine Hat, AB faces a total of 34 charges that include: fraud under $5,000, possession of credit card data, possession of identification, personation with intent, possession of methamphetamine, breach of probation and breach of recognizance.
Sterling Robert CAINES, 31 years old, of Medicine Hat, AB is charged with: possession of methamphetamine, breach of recognizance and breach of probation.
Tamara MASER was previously a target of Medicine Hat Police Service Operation Chargeback. The goal of Operation Chargeback was address the emerging crime trend of credit card fraud, to reduce the incidents of fraud which were impacting large retailers and small businesses alike. The goal of the project was to educate the public and merchants on the fraud related activity, engage the community through a public awareness campaign, and enforcement of offences on a case by case basis.
The two accused remain in custody and are awaiting their Judicial Interim Release Hearings.
These types of investigations highlight the need for business owners, retail merchants and individuals to be aware of and protect themselves from fraud.
With this particular fraud, the culprits would place an order or make an in-store purchases at the business and would provide a credit card to complete the purchase. The merchant would attempt to process the transaction with the credit card or credit card information provided, through the handheld Point of Sale terminal. If the purchase occurs in-store, without fully inserting the credit card into the terminal, the culprit would then manually enter a counterfeit credit card number into the terminal without the merchant knowing. The transaction would show as “Approved”, but several weeks later, the merchant receives notice that the credit card number was not valid and will be unable to recover the goods or funds lost.
To prevent this fraud from occurring, merchants are advised to keep visual contact with customers using handheld Point of Sale terminals and not allow customers to manually enter their own credit card numbers into the terminal. Merchants should not accept any credit card numbers for purchases without also obtaining the 3-digit security number from the back of the credit card. The best practice for merchants is to only process credit card transactions when the actual credit card is used in the handheld Point of Sale terminals.
For individuals to protect themselves from fraud it is recommended that purses and other valuables are always locked away in a secure location both at work and home. Never leave your driver’s license, credit cards or other personal information unattended and always remove valuables from your vehicle overnight. In addition, be vigilant about monitoring your banking information to track or identify purchases.
Medicine Hat Police Service