While ’tis the season to be jolly, RCMP officers are warning people to be careful while shopping this holiday season.
Over the past month, Whistler RCMP have received several reports of credit card fraud and one case of attempted purse snatching in the village.
Specifically, an unusual form of credit card fraud is taking place. A perpetrator will present a credit card to a merchant with their information on one side, but with someone else’s credit information on the magnetic strip.
“This is the first couple of times that we’ve seen this particular incident with the magnetic strip being altered, so we are trying to make people aware of it before it becomes any sort of an issue,” said Constable Afzeel Yakub.
“So I wouldn’t say it is a big issue right now, but we are certainly trying to prevent it from getting to that point,” he said.
He added that the RCMP are investigating the case but could not specify if the same person was involved in all the cases.
RCMP officers are recommending that merchants ask for several pieces of ID in addition the presented cards during credit card purchases. The information in the terminal should also be checked against the information on the card to ensure that customers are presenting legitimate credit cards.
A case of attempted purse snatching also occurred in Whistler Village this month.
On Dec. 1 at approximately 12 p.m., a 31-year-old female was returning to her home in the Upper Village when a man in the Sundial Crescent area of Whistler Village attacked her.
According to Yakub, the man approached her from behind, grabbed her purse, and tried to run off with it. The woman fell to the ground but did not let go of her bag. At that time, the suspect left the scene, bolting north towards Village Gate Boulevard.
The man did not produce any weapons throughout the event, and the woman was not injured.
“It is that busy time of year when people are looking for those opportune times. This was a case where people were secluded, but I could see it also being an issue in a busy area where you are sitting at a restaurant not paying attention to your purse for two seconds and boom, it is gone,” said Yakub.
“We are just letting people know that this kind of thing is out there and that they should be careful,” he said.
The man has been described as 5’9” tall, slim, and had black hair worn in a bowl cut fashion. He had a black jacket with burgundy sleeves and a pair of jeans. The RCMP are asking anyone with information on this event to contact them.
Officers were also busy this past weekend, with a total of 44 calls made to the Whistler and Pemberton RCMP. These included five calls for causing a disturbance, three counts of people drunk in public, two reports of mischief, five calls for thefts, and one report of break and enter.
Six impaired driving calls and one collision were also reported.
Sea to Sky RCMP are actively investigating and charging anyone found drinking and driving. Those found guilty stand to lose their driver’s license and will be affected by the new high-risk driver premiums set out by ICBC.
Anyone with information regarding criminal activity is asked to call Crime Stoppers at 1-800-222-9477 or the Whistler RCMP at 604-932-3044.