St. Albert, RCMP are warning citizens about distraction fraud scams due to two incidents that occurred the last month involving theft/attempted theft of individual’s purses in retail store parking lots. Fraudsters use a social method of distraction to steal debit cards, purses and/or money from individuals, more often seniors.
Police say it usually involves two to four people who will target individuals/seniors at big box stores or businesses with large parking lots, using a variety of methods to distract the victim, such as bombarding them with questions or concerns, asking them for help or to borrow their phone. Often, another accomplice(s) will show up to the scene while the victim has been distracted and the fraudsters are able to remove the victim’s credit/debit card/money from the unknowing victim’s wallet or steal their purse from their cart.
St. Albert RCMP say the suspects usually travel from city to city, typically remaining in the same place for only a short period of time. This type of scam is more popular in the summer when the weather is nice. RCMP want the public, especially seniors, to be very cautious when approached by strangers while out walking, shopping, or even doing chores in the yard. Be cautious of strangers getting close, offering hugs, placing fake jewelry on you, or asking for help.
If you have been a victim of fraud or would like more information on all the different fraudulent scams in Canada, visit the Canadian Anti-Fraud Centre at www.antifraudcentre-centreantifraude.ca
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