Thieves on the streets

Local Police officers have sent out a warning about a new way of carrying out thefts on the street.

The first member of a gang approaches somebody they think is a stranger to an area. They start a conversation under the pretext of asking for directions, recommendations for a restaurant or some other reasonable question.

Once the conversation has started, other members of the gang arrive. They claim to be Police officers. Sometimes they show fake identification. They might ask to see the first fraudster’s identification but they may just give an excuse to examine the victim’s bag, purse or wallet.

Once whatever they’re inspecting is handed back, everybody goes on their way. It’s only later the victim realises that money, bank cards or valuables have been taken from whatever the thieves ‘examined’.

The advice from the Police is that if anybody claims to be a Police officer, especially one in plain clothes, we should always ask to see identification.

Apart from that, it’s worth remembering:

  • Never, ever, give your passwords or the PIN for your bank cards to anybody. No genuine Police officer will ask for those.
  • No Police officer will ever ask you to withdraw money from a bank account.
  • No Police officer will ever ask you to transfer money to what they describe as a ‘safe’ bank account.

It’s often older people who are at risk of these sorts of crimes because they have grown up in a society where fraud was less frequent. It’s important to help everybody understand that there are thieves who are very good at convincing us that they’re from a trustworthy organisation.

It’s a sad reflection on today’s society, but it’s necessary to adopt an attitude of ‘trust nobody until they’re proven to be trustworthy’.

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