Distraction thefts can take many forms, but the ultimate goal is to obtain your bank or credit card and use it to make significant purchases before discarding it.
Barrie Police say two people, at the same grocery store (Metro on Bayfield Street), were victimized last Saturday.
Here’s how they were scammed:
- The suspects usually target a senior who is in line and casually move into a position that allows them to see the PIN number being entered as they make a purchase.
- In both cases, the suspect casually drops a $20 bill and tells the victim that they dropped the money. The suspect picks it up and hands it to the victim.
- The suspect then approaches the victim outside the store and indicates that the money actually belonged to the person behind them, causing the unsuspecting victim to open their wallet.
- As they are looking into the open wallet to return the money, the suspect distracts the victim temporarily which allows the bank card to be removed and then equipped with the PIN, the cash withdrawals and spending spree that often involves prepaid gift cards begins.
Barrie Police remind shoppers to always shield their bank or credit card when entering a PIN and if someone is crowding you in the checkout line, don’t be afraid to ask them to respect your space.
Just over $5000 in cash withdrawals and gift card purchases were made using the two cards stolen Saturday, all in close proximity to where the original theft had taken place.
Suspect descriptions vary in each occurrence. One victim described a suspect as a male in his 50’s, while the other indicated the suspects were both in their 20’s and were male and female. The suspects are believed to be Middle Eastern with a tanned complexion and possibly an accent.
Anyone with information on these thefts and subsequent frauds is asked to contact Constable Graber of the Barrie Police Service at 705-725-7025, ext. 2753 or Crime Stoppers at 1-800-222-TIPS (8477).