PARKSVILLE – Police are warning Oceanside residents to be extra careful with their bank cards after a Parksville woman had her account emptied in a scam that appears to be sweeping Vancouver Island.
Corporal Jesse Foreman said the woman was defrauded in a similar fashion used two other recent incidents, one of them in Sidney and the other in Nanaimo.
The Parksville incident took place on August 9 when a woman went shopping at Thrifty Foods.
When she left the store Foreman said she was approached by a man who had been in her checkout line in the grocery store.
The man asked her to help him with driving directions as he splayed out a map on a nearby car hood. The woman left her car for a brief moment to help the man with his query.
The woman later discovered that her bank card was missing. After calling the bank she was informed that all the money had been withdrawn from her account.
“All three incidents appear related as they are very similar in nature,” Foreman said. “It is believed one suspect looks over the shoulder of the victim in the checkout line in order to identify their security pin number. They then use the distraction technique of the map and direction query to get the victim out of their car and separated from their wallet or purse. Meanwhile, a second suspect quickly enters the victim’s vehicle and steals their debit or credit card.”
Foreman urged residents to always protect their pin number and never leave wallets or purses unattended.
— News staff