Thunder Bay – News – The Thunder Bay Police Service would like to warn the public about an apparent spike in a theft known as the Distraction Scam.
The Distraction Scam is theft combined with fraud. Typically, a would-be fraudster spots their victim at the checkout or self-checkout of a retailer and observes them using the PIN of their debit or credit card. Then, a short time later, the victim is distracted while their debit and credit cards are stolen by a seemingly expert pickpocket.
In one recent local case a victim described being at a retailer in the 1000-block Dawson Road when they were approached by an adult male. The male asked the individual for instructions to the Emergency Department.
The interaction was short, and both victim and unidentified male went along their way.
In the time that it took the victim to travel to a retail store in the 600 block of River Street, the victim realized her cards had been stolen. By then, the fraudsters had already taken more than $7,100 from the victim.
The Distraction Scam is often executed by specialists who travel across the country, finding victims in one locale before quickly moving to the next.
Their requests for assistance will seem incredibly genuine and their ability to sift through your belongings right next to you while going unnoticed could fool even the most observant person.
Please be sure to hide your PIN as best you can when using credit and debit cards. While out in public, take extra care to keep your valuable close to you. A wallet visible in your back pocket or a purse in the stored in your shopping cart may not represent significant challenges to fraudsters participating in the Distraction Scam.