A tire sales scam seems to be making its way into Portage la Prairie after having made some rounds in Saskatchewan. Hope Arising Auto Repair receptionist Melissa Staples says they received a call two weeks ago with somewhat of a strange order.

"They ordered 12 tires," says Staples. "They were very large, very expensive tires. So, that, in itself, was a little unusual, but not completely unheard of. We have a tire distributor and we sell tire tires. And then the next week, the same customer called and ordered 24 tires. This time, very large, very expensive tires, but again, not completely unheard of because people need large tires. It started to become a little suspicious for us because he used multiple credit cards to pay for it, and those credit cards were different than the first order he placed."

Staples says the payments were processed successfully, and the company felt they would wait and see what transpires.  

She explains their suspicions became more solidified after a truck arrived to pick the tires up, and someone from another Portage repair shop asked them if they just sold tires to a customer, seeing as they just had done so. Names were compared and it turned out to be the same customer and situation buying multiple large, expensive tires with multiple credit cards.

"It would be weird that he would go to two places," notes Staples. "If he wanted 48 tires, we could have ordered 48 tires for him. At that point, it started to get pretty suspicious. 'Is this a fraud? Is this a scam?' So, we're in contact with our bank to figure out what we do about this. We filed a police report. The RCMP told us that since we weren't necessarily being defrauded, they couldn't pursue it for us because it would be the people whose credit cards were stolen who would be the ones that were being defrauded."

Staples says they're now trying to counteract any future instances by verifying customers' ID and credit cards for future orders.

"We haven't processed another order with him because we're still all up in the air as to what the police are going to do about it," adds Staples. "The freight truck that had his order on it was actually stopped in Winnipeg, as well, because the freight company is looking into it. Do they return the tires to the distributor or do they send the tires on to the customer? They're just trying to figure out if it's legit or not."

She explains they read a news article about that very sort of crime taking place in Saskatchewan.

"People were calling every week, ordering large, expensive tires," notes Staples. "Then they said the shipments were going to a storage facility in Quebec, and that's exactly what was on the shipping form for us, as well."

Staples says the purchaser used an address from Kitchener, Ontario. The scenario was a buyer from Ontario is purchasing tries in Manitoba and shipping them to Quebec. 

"The truck we had was from BC. So, there are a lot of different provinces, a lot of information to keep track of, and it's easy for things to get missed, for sure," says Staples. 

She says businesses should be made aware of this, especially if they buy and sell tires, noting they were $800 each in their case. People with credit cards should be conscious of the existence of this scam, as well. 

"I remember telling him, 'If you're going to be putting in a lot of bulk orders, you'd be better off just going to the distributor like we order our tires from a distributor, so you could set up a wholesale, and you can get wholesale prices.' He said, 'Oh no, it's okay. I don't mind.' That, to me, was also suspicious because I was trying to get him a better deal and cut out the middleman, essentially."

This incident is currently under investigation.


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