De­bit card scam tar­ge­ting fe­male shop­pers

L'Etoile - - IN OTHER WORDS -

Wo­men, es­pe­cial­ly lone shop­pers of a cer­tain age, are being tar­ge­ted by thieves who’ve been ope­ra­ting in the re­gion for so­me­time say Sû­re­té du Qué­bec po­lice. The well-co­or­di­na­ted heist has thieves gai­ning ac­cess to the vic­tim’s per­so­nal iden­ti­fi­ca­tion num­ber, or PIN, and then stea­ling her purse with the bank card in it.

MRC de Vau­dreuil-sou­langes SQ po­lice say it’s hap­pe­ning more and more, es­pe­cial­ly in area gro­ce­ry stores. The scam works when one thief watches a shop­per pay for a pur­chase with a de­bit card. Pre­ten­ding to talk on a cel­lu­lar phone, the thief takes note of the PIN as it is pun­ched in­to the store’s de­bit card ma­chine. The tran­sac­tion can al­so be re­cor­ded by the cell phone.

Once out­side, ano­ther thief will dis­tract the tar­ge­ted shop­per by as­king a ques­tion or for di­rec­tions. A third per­son snatches the vic­tim’s purse, which is of­ten left sit­ting unat­ten­ded in the shop­ping cart, while she is dis­trac­ted.

Po­lice say people should al­ways shield the PIN pad when pun­ching num­bers in­to a de­bit card ma­chine. Anyone with in­for­ma­tion is as­ked to call po­lice at their pro­vince-wide phone num­ber at 310-4141.

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