OPP Issues FRAUD ALERT to Building Materials Retailers

Posted by on Sep 12, 2013 in Featured | 0 comments

Since  December  of  2012 several  East  Region OPP detachments  have documented  fraud  complaints where  a Montreal sourced group places orders for construction material by phone using fraudulent credit card data. Materials sought have been mostly plywood but a similar pattern was observed involving thermostats and other construction material. Generally the orders for these supplies exceed $5000 in value each time but not always. Big box stores as well as private lumber yards have fallen victim to this ploy.

A review of investigations for this period has identified similar incidents in Cornwall, Ottawa and Huntsville, Ontario as well as in Montreal, Quebec.   The value of material documented to date exceeds $200,000 but investigations are ongoing and more victims are expected to come forward as businesses are notified of the fraudulent transactions.

The pattern documented usually involves a subject from Quebec placing an order for building material by phone. A credit card is provided as payment and a third party is then hired on the side to pick up the order immediately afterward. The credit card information appears valid at first but later comes back as stolen or compromised. By then the materials have been picked up and moved which in many cases has been to Montreal, Quebec. Other methods noted elsewhere in the province involve a legitimate delivery service picking up the order but transferring it to another pick up address such as a rented mailbox address location where the materials are then collected.

It is suggested that merchants be diligent and ensure the credit card information is valid , preferably only taking credit data from cards presented in person. There have been cases where secondary identification was provided that was also later found to be fraudulent. The adage “if it’s too good to be true, it probably isn’t” is a good one to keep in mind in these cases.

Garry Mellan PC 7527
Regional Analyst
Ontario Provincial Police
East Region HQ Smiths Falls ON
613 285 2785