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Fraud by gift cards or prepaid cards

Beware of Scams!

Police officers of the Service de police de la Ville de Montréal (SPVM) want to make seniors aware of a scam to get money from them through prepaid cards or gift cards.


  • The scammer contacts the senior by phone, email or text message.
  • They make up a story, such as:
    • A fraud that took place at a business.
    • The scammer poses as a family member who urgently needs money to resolve a problem they are facing.
    • They pose as a representative of a government agency, institution, or organization claiming an amount for an unpaid bill or sum.

Whatever the situation, it’s not real!


  • The scammer asks the senior to pay the amount owing by purchasing a prepaid card or gift card.
  • They may create a sense of urgency to get the senior to pay quickly.
  • They may ask the senior to go to a store to buy the card or to buy it online. The scammer also tells the senior to activate it and to give them the number and the activation code.
  • The scammer then withdraws the value of the money put on the card.

The SPVM recommends some prevention tips for seniors or their relatives, to ensure their protection and provide possible recourses in case of fraud.


  • Be careful if someone contacts you and asks for a payment by prepaid card or gift card. No government agency, institution or other organization requests payment of any amount due through prepaid cards or gift cards.
  • Do not give them your personal information if they ask for it.
  • Ask them questions such as their name, title, the name of the agency, institution or organization they work for, and so on. Also, ask for their phone number so that you can call them back after you’ve made your verifications.
  • Take the time to verify the information the person has given you by calling a family member, a close caregiver, or your local police department. Even if you’re being pressured, never buy a prepaid or gift card and never give its number and activation code to someone you don't know.


In the case of fraud, contact your financial institution to verify what coverage you may be entitled to.

You can also file a complaint with your local police department. To communicate with your neighbourhood police station (PDQ), call 514-280-01XX (XX corresponding to the number of your PDQ). For any emergency, call 911.

To report fraud, contact the Canadian Anti-Fraud Centre at 1-888-495-8501 or through its website at www.antifraudcentre-centreantifraude.ca.