A senior citizen named Dana Heddle was left devastated after falling prey to a brazen theft at a Walmart supercenter in Burlington, Ontario, Canada. The victim was approached by a “good Samaritan” scam artist, at the self-checkout kiosk, just to defraud her leaving with a financial loss of $3,600 for the poor woman. At the beginning, he seemed like a nice guy, but then he turned into a criminal.
According to Ms. Heddle, the thief approached her while she was waiting in line to pay for her items and instructed her to use the self-checkout machine, claiming that she could only pay by entering her PIN into the reader. Later, while in the parking lot, the same person approached her again, this time pretending to help with a problem with her car’s tire. In just a matter of seconds, the thief made off with Ms. Heddle’s wallet, which contained her Visa card and department store credit card.
Stay alert: The “good Samaritan” trick could hit you next
Ms. Heddle’s daughter, Sue, shared that the thief (or thieves) wiped out her mother’s bank account, leaving her with a staggering financial loss. While Ms. Heddle was able to recover some of the funds, around $3,600 remained missing. This serves as a stark reminder of the harsh financial consequences of these heinous crimes.
The police have warned the public to be cautious, advising that thieves may work together in pairs and use the guise of being helpful strangers to pull off these scams. Steve Elms, of the Halton Police Department, urged people to be cautious of anyone who approaches them in a parking lot and distracts them, leaving their vehicle vulnerable to theft.
Tips to stay alert and avoid being scammed at the supermarket
This incident serves as a wake-up call for everyone to remain vigilant and cautious, particularly in public spaces, where such scams are increasingly prevalent. As self-checkout machines become more common in supermarkets, such as Walmart, so do the opportunities for scammers and fraudsters to take advantage of unsuspecting customers.
Stay alert if someone approaches you saying they just wanna “help”, and avoid them to stay close to your belongings. Requesting the actual help from a supermarket’s employee or self-checkout agent is better: you can rely on them, not on strangers from the waiting line.
Some scammers could also take advantage of senior citizens having problems when utilizing the self-checkout computers, or the ATMs so, if you’re in this population or have a member of your family that’s senior, warn them about these scamming tactics. Instruct them about never letting anyone that’s not trustable to come close.
The other version of the “good Samaritan” trick targeting unaware shoppers
Recently, a Texas man was arrested for targeting elderly costumers at supermarkets, like Walmart or others, retailer stores and shopping malls to scam them. A 55-year-old individual, was accused of engaging in deceptive practices targeting an unsuspecting man at Lowe’s on Walton Dr. in Texarkana, Texas, on May 8.
In a calculated move, the man approached a older gentleman and initiated a conversation, eventually offering to sell him a lawnmower for $1,000. To bolster his credibility, the scammer claimed to be a driver for Home Depot and explained that the lawnmower had become available due to the unfortunate demise of the original buyer. According to a probable cause affidavit, Smith even went as far as to assert that he had been granted authorization to sell the item.
Intrigued by the prospect of acquiring the lawnmower at a seemingly favorable price, the man proposed a counteroffer of $500. Subsequently, the two individuals proceeded to a nearby Walmart, where they intended to withdraw the cash from an automated teller machine (ATM). Once the monetary transaction was completed, the pair made their way to Home Depot. At this point, the suspect disappeared with the money, leaving the elderly man outside the store.
Fortuitously, the targeted elderly man had the great idea of capture a photograph of Smith during their time together inside the truck. Recognizing the importance of this evidence, he promptly shared the image with local law enforcement authorities, aiding in their investigation. The man was arrested and charged with several crimes. The police officers found out that he had a recent history of the same scam commited many times.