Area law enforcement agencies are alerting the public of a new scam referred to as “Distract and Dash”.
According to officials, the scam typically happens in grocery stores when a shopper, who has their purse in the seat of a cart, is distracted by a person asking questions about certain products. The first suspect usually places themselves between the shopper and their purse, while a second suspect quickly goes through it, taking things like credit cards, cash, and membership cards to club-style stores. Authorities say it can happen in as little as 20 seconds, and usually goes undiscovered until the victim gets to the check-out. The suspects then go to the club store and use the membership entry card and credit cards to purchase gift cards, which are then used to make unauthorized purchases that can add up to thousands of dollars.
Authorities say situational awareness is important. Citizens are urged to be aware of who’s around you at all times, and be wary of overly-friendly encounters when you’re separated from your belongings. Authorities also recommend carrying your purse when shopping, and to make sure your wallet is hidden or in your front pocket while shopping. Any suspicious activity should be reported to store officials.
(courtesy KUOO in Spirit Lake)