Home News Canada Toronto seniors falling prey to ‘distraction theft’ cons, police warn

Toronto seniors falling prey to ‘distraction theft’ cons, police warn

Police say that thieves are targeting senior citizens who speak little to no English in a series of ‘distraction thefts’

Thieves are preying on seniors, particularly those who speak little English, Toronto police are warning.

Police report four “distraction thefts” with similar tactics this month alone, between Aug. 17 to 21.

Each time, police say, a woman approaches a senior citizen and asks for directions. The woman distracts her victims by giving them worthless jewelry while stealing expensive jewelry, such as rings and necklaces. Before the victims realize their jewelry is missing, the fraud artist is driven away by a male suspect.

Police are urging the public to be on their guard against these ploys and report any suspicious behaviour to police.

To help alert the community, Crime Stoppers has released a series of YouTube videos in English, Portuguese, and Italian.

Police believe there may be other victims.

Crime Stoppers’ reenactment of a series of ‘distraction thefts’ targeting seniors in the GTA. Videos have been produced in English, Portuguese and Italian.

This isn’t the first time a string of distraction thefts have hit Toronto. In 2014, a Scarborough widow lost irreplaceable jewelry including her wedding ring to a ‘hugging’ distraction thief.

Police also dismantled an international organized crime ring responsible for a series of distraction thefts across southern Ontario and Quebec in 2012.

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