The Vancouver Police Department has revealed a string of late-night debit card thefts and frauds have recently targeted intoxicated people in the Granville Entertainment District.
According to a VPD release, nine incidents involving thousands of dollars have been reported to police since January 2017.
However, police believe there are more thefts that have gone undetected.
“Awareness is always your best defence,” said Sergeant Jason Robillard, VPD spokesperson, in a release.
“Look around you and see if someone is standing close enough to see your pin. Move close to the ATM and use your body or hand to block prying eyes.”
Police say thefts can occur after a transaction when fraudsters steal the debit card, sometimes replacing it with an expired card, so an individual remains unaware of the theft.
On other occasions, the suspect will approach people who have just used the machine and have their cash or debit card in-hand.
The suspect will then try to convince the victim that the card they have belonged to the thief, who left it in the machine.
The VPD has issued the following tips to try to avoid these thefts:
- Be aware of your surroundings – if you feel unsafe and someone suspicious is loitering around the ATM, leave immediately
- Always conceal your PIN number when you are entering it, stand close to the machine
- If you are planning a night out with drinking, consider withdrawing cash prior to going out and not late at night when you are intoxicated
- Don’t accept “help” or allow anyone to interfere with your transaction
- Consider lowering your daily withdrawal limit
- Monitor your banking transaction regularly and report any suspicious activity to your bank immediately