St. Albert RCMP warn about distraction fraud scams

submitted by St. Albert RCMP

St. Albert, RCMP are warning citizens about distraction fraud scams due to two incidents that occurred the last month involving theft/attempted theft of individual’s purses in retail store parking lots.  Fraudsters use a social method of distraction to steal debit cards, purses and/or money from individuals, more often seniors.

Police say it usually involves two to four people who will target individuals/seniors at big box stores or businesses with large parking lots, using a variety of methods to distract the victim, such as bombarding them with questions or concerns, asking them for help or to borrow their phone. Often, another accomplice(s) will show up to the scene while the victim has been distracted and the fraudsters are able to remove the victim’s credit/debit card/money from the unknowing victim’s wallet or steal their purse from their cart.

St. Albert RCMP says the suspects usually travel from city to city, typically remaining in the same place for only a short period of time. This type of scam is more popular in the summer when the weather is nice. RCMP wants the public, especially seniors, to be very cautious when approached by strangers while out walking, shopping, or even doing chores in the yard. Be cautious of strangers getting close, offering hugs, placing fake jewelry on you, or asking for help.

If you have been a victim of fraud or would like more information on all the different fraudulent scams in Canada, visit the Canadian Anti-Fraud Centre @

St. Albert RCMP encourage the public to report any criminal or suspicious activity to the RCMP Detachment at 780-458-7700. Reports tell us where to look, who to look for, and where to patrol in the future. If you see a crime in progress, dial 911. If you wish to remain anonymous, contact Crime Stoppers at 1-800-222-8477 (TIPS), online at or by using the “P3 Tips” app available through the Apple App or Google Play Store.

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