Regina police warn elderly about recent trend in credit card theft

WATCH: Police believe two men between the ages of 30 and 45 with heavy Eastern European accents are responsible for a string of scams targeting seniors. Katelyn Wilson explains.

The Regina Police Service is warning senior citizens about a trend in credit card theft, following a number of incidents dating back to 2018.

Police said seven incidents have been reported: four cases in September 2018 and three more since January 31.

“It’s particularly disgusting, in that it effects some of our most vulnerable citizens, our seniors,” Regina Police Service spokesperson, Elizabeth Popowich said.

All seven thefts happened at or near grocery stores, department stores and drugs stores, usually in the parking lot, according to police.

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Officers believe their methods involve two or three people who distract and then steal from the victim.

Police believe one method used is where a suspect stands close to the victim inside the store to memorize their pin number.

“They’re in the business, they make a purchase and when they’re asked later what they remember, they say there was a person standing too close to me in line,” Popowich said.

Once outside, the suspect runs up to the victim telling them they dropped a $20 bill.

The same suspect insists to help put the money back into the victim’s wallet or purse where police believe the theft takes place.

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In two cases, the suspect convinced the victims to get out of the vehicle by pretending there was something wrong with the rear tire. Another suspect then opened the door and committed the theft, police said.

All victims are seniors and mainly women.

“Its really disappointing, because we are talking about people who are on a fixed income,” Popowich said.

Police suspect the perpetrators are travelling from city-to-city in attempt to avoid being caught.

“For scammers this is their job and they’re good at it,” Better Business Bureau CEO, Karen Smith said. “They believe there’s an easy way to set up confusion which then makes them more vulnerable to the scammer.”

To help combat the growing number of scams, the Saskatchewan Seniors Mechanism, in collaboration with a number of partners, created a Fraud Prevention & Safety Handbook.

“It’s a pretty comprehensive look at each scam and some tips to avoid for anyone not just seniors,” Smith said.

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The stolen credit cards were used in several Western Canadian cities with total losses in the tens of thousands of dollars, according to police.

Anyone with information is asked to contact Regina police at 306-777-6500 or Crime Stoppers at 1-800-222-8477 (TIPS).

© 2019 Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.

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