The Abbotsford Police Department (APD) says a project started in June has helped to cut in half the number of fraudulent credit and debit card offences at local businesses.
Project That’s Not You was initiated by Const. Joshua Parihar and Const. Nathan Perrey to combat the use of stolen debit and credit cards.
Sgt. Judy Bird said it’s common for thieves to break into a vehicle, steal a debit or credit card, and use its “tap” feature to purchase cigarettes or lottery tickets at local convenience stores.
Project That’s Not You involved patrol officers requesting that local businesses ask customers for photo ID when purchasing these items.
“Businesses and the police found that the majority of purchasers were unable to produce valid picture ID matching the name on the bank card being used,” Bird said.
Customers who were unable to provide ID were not able to complete their transaction, and many potentially fraudulent transactions were prevented, she said.
Bird said the delay in a thief being able to use a stolen card also provides victims some additional time to cancel those cards.
She said both the APD and businesses participating in the project have noticed positive results.
“During the first four months of project That’s Not You, the number of police files related to fraudulent bank card use at convenience/gas stations decreased by 50 per cent,” she said.
“Businesses that participated in the project also reported a significant decrease in attempts at fraudulent activity using credit/debit cards.”
Bird said that although law-abiding customers might be inconvenienced by having to produce ID when making a purchase, the APD believes the positives outweigh these concerns.
Staff Sgt. Crystal Jack said she looks forwarding to expanding the project to other businesses.
“This is a great example of the positive impact a program can have when Abby PD and community stakeholders partner to combat crime,” she said.
Bird said the public can also help to reduce the theft of credit and debit cards by always removing their valuables from, and locking, their vehicles.
Any Abbotsford business wanting to participate in the project is asked to contact Staff Sgt. Jack through the APD at 604-859-5225.
Victims of theft can visit abbypd.ca/identity-theft for more information.