New warning about ‘distraction’ thefts in Ottawa

Below is a press release from the City of Ottawa that may be of interest to members of the community:

New warning about ‘distraction’ thefts in Ottawa

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: Friday, March 1st, 2019    1:10pm

(Ottawa) – The Ottawa Police Service Criminal Investigation Unit is investigating a number of Distraction Thefts throughout Ottawa targeting our senior population (but not exclusive to seniors). These thefts occur near retail locations across the city of Ottawa and investigators have identified 10 known cases in the past four days.

Most of the occurrences are happening between 12:00 (noon) and 4:00pm. Victims are approached by the suspects in public areas and parking lots. The suspect(s) offer a form of assistance to the targeted victims, such as an offer to help carry purchases, state that the victim dropped money or point out an issue with the victim’s vehicle. While the victim is distracted the suspects steal their debit or credit cards.

The suspects appear to work in groups of two or more and are a combination of male and female.

Ottawa Police are reminding people to remain vigilant as a potential victim or witness to their surroundings and immediately report any similarly suspicious encounters to the Ottawa Police Service. Please remember to hide your PIN when using your debit or credit cards, lock your vehicle with your keys in hand even if you step away from it for a brief period.

Anyone with information about this type of distraction thefts can contact the Ottawa Police at 613-236-1222, ext. 7300. Anonymous tips can be submitted by calling Crime Stoppers toll-free at 1-800-222-8477 (TIPS), or by downloading the Ottawa Police app.

For more information on theft prevention tips see commons scams and crime prevention for seniors.

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