CHESTERMERE – During the afternoon on Nov. 28, a pair of fraudsters tried to swindle free merchandise out of Alison Saklofske of Sak’s Music in Chestermere.
Luckily, the music store owner caught on to their scheme early and didn’t let them walk out of the store with the items they had picked out.
“It’s just kind of a pain, considering they could have walked out of here with a lot of stuff,” she said. “Plus you spend time with them and help them pick out their items, it’s just annoying.”
Saklofske said that the pair, and man and a woman, came in and said they were looking to buy Christmas gifts. They picked out three guitars and an amp, which she said came to a total of around $1,300.
She said everything seemed fine until the man gave her a credit card without any raised numbers or name on it. She said that it had a signature on the back, but no name printed anywhere on it.
“Of course I swiped it and it didn’t work,” she said. “So I’m like, if it doesn’t work when I swipe it I can enter it in manually, but then I have to take an imprint of the card.”
Saklofske said that she punched the card number in, and although it was approved, she told them she would have to call the card in to verify it, because she couldn’t take an imprint of it.
“That’s when they started getting a little agitated,” she said. “Because the card had been approved, they kept asking why I had to call it in if it went through, and I just told them that it was for security.”
Saklofske said that the customer told her that didn’t have any proper identification on him, either.
“I couldn’t get through to my point of sale company and I was taking a while on the phone, and then they started to get a little frustrated and told me they had to go meet friends,” she said. “So they told me they would go and come back to pick everything up later.”
Saklofske was successful in contacting the card company and told them the situation, but she said that all they could do was conduct a simple name and phone number check to see if it matched the card.
“We write up invoices so he did give me his name and address and phone number, so I gave that to the card company,” she said. “Of course it didn’t match the card they had on file.”
Saklofske said that she later went online and read a report from the RCMP from last year about people stealing cards, copying them, and they using them in stores.
“The cards won’t swipe, but as soon as you punch it in manually it will go through as approved because it’s a real number,” she said. “My guess is that they use the card once and that’s it.”
She said that this type of scam has happened to her before, which is why she was thorough in checking out the card.
“Last time I didn’t take an imprint of the card, and I found out months later that it was a fraudulent card, so I lost the cost of that purchase,” she said. “I didn’t take an imprint and so the card company couldn’t help me, so now I always do one if it doesn’t swipe properly.”
Saklofkse said that any card without a chip on it these days raises a little bit of suspicion, and that she thought maybe the card was a type of gift card, however she was still leery due to the lack of raised numbers.
“They said that would come back later that day and they never did, but they apparently did call back the next day asking if they could pick up their stuff,” she said. “I was already gone home for the day when they called, but one of my staff just told them that the card wasn’t accepted so it had been refunded.”
Saklofske said that they fact that they try to steal from small businesses, who really hurt if they lose income, is what frustrates her the most.
“It’s something you can’t get back,” she said. “We are all here trying to be honest and make a living and it is disheartening that people would try to do this to a small business or to any business for that matter.
“It just hurts us little guys even more.”