Toronto Police Seized Fake Gift Cards Worth Over $500K & Busted A Major Tampering Lab
Three people are facing charges.
If you didn't know how big the gift card tampering business was in Toronto, you're about to.
The Toronto Police Service (TPS) Financial Crime Unit has arrested three suspects for allegedly running a "sophisticated" forgery lab in Toronto, used for creating tampered gift cards for "fraudulent use."
Police say the lab was allegedly run between July 2022 and January 2023.
On Wednesday, January 25, TPS carried out search warrants at a residence in Richmond Hill and a business in Toronto.
Police said in a press release they seized a "vast" amount of fraudulent gift cards, valued at approximately $500,000.
They also seized an unknown number of government-issued identity cards, along with electronic equipment used for tampering with gift cards.
38-year-old Louri Perett and 35-year-old Vitalii Fokov of Richmond Hill were charged with fraud over $5,000, dealing in altered gift cards and possession of proceeds obtained by a crime.
34-year-old Elizaveta Perett of Richmond Hill was also charged with possession of proceeds obtained by a crime.
In December last year, former Peel Regional Police and York Regional Police officer Nichelle Laus exposed a gift card scam, which she discovered at a local Shoppers Drug Market, where she revealed a PlayStation gift card came up as an LCBO gift card when scanned.
In an Instagram reel, she exposed how scammers can apply fake barcodes to gift cards to trick people out of their money.
According to Laus, scammers purchase empty gift cards from the retailer and add their own barcodes on top, leaving the barcode slightly elevated, which can be felt when you run your finger along it.
The suspects from the recent gift card tampering case are scheduled to appear in court on Friday, March 10.