Halton police warn of ‘distraction thefts’ targeting seniors

Halton Regional Police Service is urging residents to remain vigilant after a number of thefts have been reported in the region.

Police say there have been four incidents in Milton and Georgetown where residents have been targeted while at retail stores.

“A suspect will watch the victim input their PIN at the register. Another suspect will then stage an interaction with the victim at the store exit or in the parking lot and steal the credit or debit card,” said Halton police in a news release.

The interactions could include the suspect “finding” money on the ground and attempting to return it to the victim’s wallet, or a suspect will ask for assistance with directions while the victim is putting groceries away. Another person will then open the victim’s car door and steal their credit or debit card.

The thieves often use the stolen cards at retail stores and ATMs in the Greater Toronto Area.

Police have offered the following tips to help the public protect themselves:

  • Always cover the keypad when entering a credit or debit card PIN
  • Do not leave purses or wallets in vehicles while putting groceries away
  • Do not reveal your wallet or purse in a parking lot when speaking with a stranger

Anyone with information that could help police with the investigation is asked to contact Det. Cst. Kate Banks at 905-825-4747, ext. 2468.