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Shoppers in North Hampshire warned to be vigilant after distraction scam

posted 8 Jun 2011, 02:58 by Blackwater & Hawley NHW
Shoppers across North Hampshire are being warned to be on their guard after a series of distraction scams where they have been duped in shopping centre car parks. 

In the most recent incident, an elderly woman had her credit and debit card stolen when she was in the car park at Tesco in Aldershot.

On Wednesday, June 1, at around lunchtime, the 80-year-old woman from Farnham, was approached in the car park by a foreign woman asking for directions and showing a map. 

While the elderly woman was distracted her credit and debit cards were stolen from her handbag. The cards were then used in a number of locations to withdraw a significant amount of money and pay for a number of high value items. 

A similar incident occurred at Chineham Shopping Centre on Tuesday, May 25. Sometime between 11am and 11.30am, a woman was approached by a foreign woman as she loaded her shopping into her car. 

The woman appeared distressed and said she needed urgent directions to Oxford, producing a map. 

While the victim was distracted, someone entered her vehicle and stole bank cards from her handbag. The cards when then used at a number of locations to withdraw a significant amount of money. 

PC Jindy Sokhi, from the Basingstoke tasking team, said: "These people are knowingly preying on people’s good will and helpful nature and are intentionally targeting lone female 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 out of sight. 

"If you have any information that can help with this investigation, please get in touch."