A hidden camera has captured the latest scam being deployed by ruthless criminals. It’s happening in grocery stores across the country, leaving unsuspecting shoppers victimized. Don’t let it happen to you.
Security consultant Bill Stanton knows all too well how crooks and con artists are always looking for new ways to try to separate us from our hard-earned cash. These scammers continuously prey on the innocent, and they’ve found a way to do it in a place we all visit — the grocery store. Sadly, they aren’t only walking away with our money. Their latest scheme gives them ample opportunity to commit identity theft as well, giving them access to our personal information. Luckily, there is something we can do about it.
While shopping, we are often distracted, especially in the grocery store as we read labels, look at prices, and possibly even shuffle through coupons. Meanwhile, our purse or wallet is often unattended in our cart. For too many of us, this could result in a stolen purse or wallet as thieves take advantage of the opportunity to rob us right under our noses, as has been captured repeatedly on security camera videos. Thankfully, a little common sense is all it takes to protect our stuff.
“A New Jersey shopper was recently seen examining a package of chicken in a grocery store when a female thief swooped in and snatched her purse in a split second,” Inside Edition reported, revealing the prevalence of the problem. “In [another] video from a separate supermarket, another female thief was seen casually walking up the aisle, but then boldly making her move, swiping a purse right out of a shopping cart while the bag’s owner had her back turned.”
“It is so quick, people don’t know it’s happening. They’re like down another aisle before they even know it’s missing,” Bill Stanton said, before showing viewers what to look out for to make sure we don’t become a victim. To prove his point, he zeroed in on an unsuspecting shopper, doing his best to distract her while producer Katie Taylor swooped in and placed an Inside Edition sticker on the purse. The demonstration showed just how easy it would have been to steal the woman’s wallet while she engaged in conversation with Stanton.
This is how con teams work to victimize unsuspecting shoppers. “While you’re shopping for your items, as a possible bad guy team, we’re shopping for our items,” Bill Stanton explained, further describing this latest ploy. Sadly, it was clearly demonstrated in a real-life scenario caught on camera. In that textbook incident of “shopping distraction thievery,” a man kept an elderly shopper’s attention, speaking with her in the produce section, so his accomplice could slide in unnoticed and steal her wallet.
Further demonstrating how being distracted makes a shopper a target for thieves, Stanton decided to show how easy it is to steal from someone wearing headphones. Using the same sticker-on-purse approach, he showed the shopper how easy it would have been for him to take her purse. “My accomplice right over there could have easily gotten your bag,” he said. “You were being really nice, what happened is you got ripped off for it.”
Obviously, the first step in preventing this from happening to you is to be vigilant about paying attention to your surroundings. Unfortunately, we all know that’s easier said than done. Getting distracted is easy, and as Bill Stanton showed, criminals only need a mere second to make us their victim. So, you must do more.
One possibility is hiding your purse in your locked car, only taking in what you need, which will hopefully fit in your pocket. If you do decide your purse needs to go with you into the store, keep your bag visible at all times or keep it on your shoulder, Stanton advises. “Once it goes in that cart, it puts the bad guy that much closer to getting your stuff,” he said.
However, if you prefer to put it in the cart, you still have options to protect yourself. Fasten it in using the child safety restraints or even a carabiner hook. This way, thieves will meet some resistance when they try to grab it and not be able to make off with it without causing a scene and drawing attention.
Remember, once a thief has your wallet, they have more than your money. They have your ID, credit cards, banking information, and more, including possibly your keys and maybe even your address. It’s a criminal smorgasbord. So, it’s worth the extra effort to protect ourselves. Thankfully, we all have the power to prevent this as long as we are aware of the issue, so don’t forget to warn your friends. No one wants to be taken advantage of, and being armed with information is the best way to ensure it doesn’t happen.