Several people found their credit card information stolen in Whistler over the past week and the transactions that drained their accounts were traced all the way to Las Vegas.
RCMP Staff Sgt. Steve LeClair said three reports of prepaid credit card information being stolen and accessed were made to the detachment over the past week.
Two incidents came to the police’s attention last Wednesday (Jan. 30). An Australian visitor reported his credit card balance of $1,000 had been withdrawn at the Tropicana in Las Vegas.
“He only used his card in Whistler at numerous locations and he has never been to Las Vegas,” LeClair said.
Later that day another victim of fraud reported after using their credit card at multiple ATMs in the Whistler area that $650 was withdrawn, also at the Tropicana.
On Monday (Feb. 4) LeClair said another prepaid credit card holder reported that his account was accessed in Las Vegas and $7,500 taken.
“People should be cautious when using their credit cards and debit cards and be really weary. If something that looks fishey or hokey on an ATM or a terminal, don’t use it and report it,” LeClair said, adding retailers should also be vigilant of people spending time distracting them from a point of sale terminal or a ATM. “Call the police and we will attend because there are groups of people out there doing this.”
Meanwhile a report of fraud over Craigslist was made last Tuesday (Jan. 29). LeClair said the UK resident found accommodation in Whistler and transferred half the payment of $1,900 through his bank to the landlord. However, he said the landlord then insisted on obtaining the rest of the funds and the visitor changed his mind and asked for a refund, only to be refused.
“This is still under investigation to determine what actually happened here,” LeClair said.
So far in 2013 there have been 24 reports of fraud, which includes credit card skimming and incidents over Craigslist. That is up from the same period of time in 2012, when 11 reports of fraud were made. Total frauds in 2010 numbered 142, according to LeClair when the Olympics saw a spike in figures, in 2011 there were 109 and 2012 there were 117.
Snowmobilers found safe
Seven snowmobilers that got lost on Sproatt Mountain on Sunday (Feb. 3) were found safe and sound the next day.
LeClair said the group phoned a friend that evening around 9:15 p.m. and that friend later informed RCMP that the group encountered poor weather conditions and decided to “hunker down for the night.”
The next morning RCMP, Search and Rescue and guides with a local snowmobile company assembled along the Callaghan Valley Forest Service Road and located the group at 11:15 a.m. after one member of the group marked their location from an iPhone.
The snowmobilers were safely guided out of the backcountry on their sleds by 11:28 a.m. according to LeClair and all were in good spirits and uninjured. Three of the men were from Washington, while the rest were from Vancouver, Maple Ridge, Victoria and Surrey. They ranged in age from 23 to 56 years old.
Skier gets lost
A skier that went into the backcountry alone was also reported overdue on Sunday night.
LeClair said a friend reported the experienced skier missing just before midnight after he texted him asking for assistance to be found through his cellphone. He said the skier’s plan was to take Seventh Heaven and go into the backcountry from there.
Whistler Blackcomb ski patrol and Search and Rescue were notified, however, LeClair said the skier managed to walk out along a creek seven hours after texting his friend and returned home close to 3 a.m.