rabble blogs are the personal pages of some of Canada's most insightful progressive activists and commentators. All opinions belong to the writer; however, writers are expected to adhere to our guidelines. We welcome new bloggers -- contact us for details.

ATM card skimming hits the resort

Over the past few weeks, many friends and neighbours (including myself) have had their bank cards compromised, regardless of institution.

According to RCMP reports, investigators believe that cards reproduced using card and PIN numbers obtained in Whistler were used to make purchases and/or withdrawals in Vancouver, West Vancouver and Richmond.

It's ironic that the Canadian government has earmarked $1 billion to combat security during the 2010 Olympics, yet one individual can come close to shutting down BC's premier resort simply by using a card skimming machine.

Luckily, I received a call from Vancity on the Victoria Day holiday letting me know that my debit card had been cancelled. They had good reason to believe that my account had been compromised at a local business. In my case, the closest Vancity branch is located in West Vancouver (a 2-hour drive away), leaving me with no access to cash for several days.

The effects were so far reaching, that on one particular day, debit card transactions in Whistler came to a near standstill. Many people only learned about their frozen accounts as they tried to pay for purchases.

One local resident was away on a fishing trip in remote BC and learned about the scam when he tried to purchase gas. He was shocked to learn that his bank account had been drained of thousands of dollars and managed to panhandle $25 - just enough money to get him home.

According to the Whistler RCMP, the scam was centred around Quizno's and Subway.
I have never eaten at either Quizno's or Subway.

However, the unofficial "rumour" circulating around town, puts the epicenter of the scam to Whistler's one-and-only gas station. That makes more sense. Anyone who drives a car in Whistler has one choice when it comes to fueling up (with the exception of Mons cardlock).

Thanks to B.C's new pay-before-you-pump legislation (i.e. Grant's Law) all motorists are now required to pre-pay before pumping gas. With the majority of motorists paying by either debit or Visa, this location virtually guarantees that the fraudsters' nets gather as many card numbers and PINs as possible.

Luckily the banks were quick to act and the number of people impacted was kept to a minimum. The alleged suspect will appear in BC court on June 19.

In the meantime, I'll be making as many purchases as possible using cold, hard cash.


Thank you for reading this story…

More people are reading rabble.ca than ever and unlike many news organizations, we have never put up a paywall – at rabble we’ve always believed in making our reporting and analysis free to all, while striving to make it sustainable as well. Media isn’t free to produce. rabble’s total budget is likely less than what big corporate media spend on photocopying (we kid you not!) and we do not have any major foundation, sponsor or angel investor. Our main supporters are people and organizations -- like you. This is why we need your help. You are what keep us sustainable.

rabble.ca has staked its existence on you. We live or die on community support -- your support! We get hundreds of thousands of visitors and we believe in them. We believe in you. We believe people will put in what they can for the greater good. We call that sustainable.

So what is the easy answer for us? Depend on a community of visitors who care passionately about media that amplifies the voices of people struggling for change and justice. It really is that simple. When the people who visit rabble care enough to contribute a bit then it works for everyone.

And so we’re asking you if you could make a donation, right now, to help us carry forward on our mission. Make a donation today.


We welcome your comments! rabble.ca embraces a pro-human rights, pro-feminist, anti-racist, queer-positive, anti-imperialist and pro-labour stance, and encourages discussions which develop progressive thought. Our full comment policy can be found here. Learn more about Disqus on rabble.ca and your privacy here. Please keep in mind:


  • Tell the truth and avoid rumours.
  • Add context and background.
  • Report typos and logical fallacies.
  • Be respectful.
  • Respect copyright - link to articles.
  • Stay focused. Bring in-depth commentary to our discussion forum, babble.


  • Use oppressive/offensive language.
  • Libel or defame.
  • Bully or troll.
  • Post spam.
  • Engage trolls. Flag suspect activity instead.