While the majority of fraudsters and rogue traders target victims over the phone or in their homes they can also target you while you’re out and about.
These types of offenders tend to target older people who are using their credit or bank cards while out shopping.
They watch the victim while they enter their payment card PIN into the chip and pin device at the checkout.
Then, once the victim has placed their shopping in their car and their handbag on the passenger seat, one offender will distract the victim by asking for directions, while an accomplice steals the victim’s bank card from their purse.
The offenders will then empty the victim’s account of cash either at cash machines or by going on a spending spree.
Detective Chief Inspector Karen Jaundrill said: "This type of crime can happen to anyone which is why we’re taking the opportunity to remind the public to be on their guard.
“It’s also important that people know what steps they can take to reduce the risk of becoming a victim.”
Tips to avoid this type of crime include:
- Never leave your handbag hung over the shopping trolley or unattended at any time. Make sure your bag has a secure zip fastening and for added security, secure your purse inside a zipped pocket inside the bag to help protect against thieves reaching inside your bag or purse to search for valuables.
- If you are approached by a stranger in unusual circumstances in or around a supermarket, do not engage with them, particularly if they ask for directions or change. Be firm with them, walk away, and report any suspicious activity to the police.
- When using a chip & pin device or ATM, always shield your number with your hand. Avoid using cash machines that appear to have been tampered with, or where groups of people are hanging around.
- In restaurants and cafes put your bag on your lap or on the floor between your feet with your foot on the strap. Alternatively place the strap through one leg of the chair.
- Do not carry large amounts of cash with you. Withdraw only money needed at the time.
- Look for ATMs located inside buildings, supermarkets or other busy locations.
- Check your bank statements on a regular basis and ensure that any inaccuracies or discrepancies are reported immediately