Investigators are asking members of the public to be mindful of a recent increase in distraction thefts in local shopping centre parking lots. In most cases women and seniors are being targeted, however, fraudsters have no problem targeting all demographics.
These distraction thefts are not new, but tend to be more common as the weather warms up. In one scenario a woman will finish her shopping, enter her vehicle and turn on the ignition. At this point a suspect will approach her window, indicating he hears an unusual noise from the back of the vehicle. She will be prompted to exit the car and circle to the back to hear the alleged noise. In the meantime, a second suspect will take her wallet from her purse which is commonly on the front seat. One of the suspects will likely have obtained the womans PIN number by looking over her shoulder as she paid for items inside the store. The woman may not even realize the wallet is gone until she goes to look for it again.
This is just one example of a distraction tactic. A suspect may also claim they need help with a loved one who is in trouble, or attempt to engage the potential victim in any number of conversations as a means to distract them.
Investigators ask members of the community to be mindful of their surroundings at all times and always protect their PIN numbers when completing transactions. Fraudsters can be persuasive and if someone appears suspicious dont engage them in conversation.
If you have been the victim of a distraction theft or have any information regarding fraudulent activity, please contact Det. Pat Waters at 1-888-579-1520 ext. 5702.
Distraction thefts (JPG file, 178.7K bytes)