Salmon Arm  

Distraction scam returns

The tag-team distraction grift is making a comeback in the Okanagan.

Salmon Arm RCMP said the age-old technique was used on a woman exiting a grocery store last Friday.

RCMP responded after a report of a stolen purse and subsequent fraudulent use of credit cards.

"A male distracted a female that was loading her groceries in her car by asking if she had lost something near the front of her vehicle," said Staff Sgt. Scott West of the Salmon Arm RCMP.

"At the same time police believe that an accomplice stole a number of bank cards and credit cards from her purse. By the time the cards were noticed stolen a very short time later the thieves had spent hundreds of dollars on the cards."

RCMP continue the investigation in an attempt to identify the culprits, West said.

West noted several tips if you are approached by someone trying to distract you in this manner:

"The type of theft that is evident here is the age old tactic by thieves to divert your attention away from your belongings. Meanwhile an accomplice steals a wallet, credit cards, keys or other valuables," West said.

If you are approached by someone in a parking lot and they give you some kind of urgent excuse that prompts you to divert your attention from what you are doing do the following things:

  • Finish what you are doing. And if they encroach on your personal space yell at them to back away to attract attention.
  • Lock valuables in your vehicle with windows rolled up and hang on to your keys in your hand.
  • Then if you want to go investigate do so with extreme caution but do not let people in your car or go near another car. Remember, you can always call the police for help at any point.

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