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Supermarket shoppers warned after two people fall victim to scam
SUPERMARKET shoppers in Basingstoke are being warned to be vigilant after two people were victims of distraction scams.
Officers from Hampshire Constabulary are renewing their warning to residents following a series of incidents where shoppers have been distracted in supermarket car parks, allowing the offender and an accomplice to enter the victim’s vehicle and steal bank cards from their handbag.
Two of three incidents which happened on November 18 occurred in Basingstoke.
The first was at 11.30am at Morrisons car park, in Worting Road, where an 82-year-old woman was distracted by a man who said she had dropped a £10 note and encouraged her to check in her purse.
She later discovered her bank card was missing and had been used to withdraw cash from her account.
At 12.45pm, a 63-year-old woman was distracted while loading her shopping into her car at Tesco, Chineham.
The police have not provided details of the distraction method used, but said she later realised her card had been stolen and used to withdraw cash.
Other techniques used by the crooks include claiming the victim has a nail in their car tyre, asking for directions, or claiming they need to go to hospital.
The stolen cards are then used to withdraw money or buy high-value items, often before the victim has even realised their personal property has been taken.
Graeme Barbour, crime prevention advisor, said: “People who have fallen victim to this type of crime have also reported seeing people behaving suspiciously in supermarkets.
“This could be where offenders are watching shoppers entering PIN codes when paying for their shopping.
“If you notice people acting suspiciously inside supermarkets, or you are approached by someone in a car park, please report it to police as soon as possible.
“These people are knowingly preying on people’s goodwill and helpful nature and are intentionally targeting lone shoppers at supermarkets, causing a distraction which allows another member of the group to commit the theft.
“If you are approached in this way, please act cautiously. Not everyone asking for directions is a criminal, and if you choose to help, it is your decision to do so. However, if you do, before you help, please ensure your vehicle is locked and all your valuables are on your person or locked in your vehicle.”