Ontario Provincial Police are warning Kenora residents after seeing a dramatic increase in people falling victim to frauds in the area.

OPP said they have received several calls about a couple following customers through checkouts at local Kenora businesses, then watching for customers’ PIN numbers for their debit or credit cards.

Police said these customers are then approached in the parking lot and are distracted while the cards are taken from their wallet and money is withdrawn from the cards later.

OPP describe one suspect as a tall man with a dark complexion, dark hair, and an accent.

Police are asking anyone with information about the fraud to call OPP at 1-888-310-1122 or Crime Stoppers at 1-800-222-8477.

OPP have a few tips to protect yourself from fraud:

  • Do not give money in order to collect a prize;
  • Do not give out personal information, including banking information, Social Insurance Number, or your date of birth;
  • If it sounds too good to be true, it probably is;
  • Be cautious if the caller asks for cash, gift cards or money orders;
  • Do not get caught up in time constraints. If the caller tells you the offer is time sensitive and pressures you to make a decision, it is probably not a legitimate deal;
  • If you receive a call for a charity, ask for and check the charity's registration number online or call the Canada Revenue Agency toll free at 1 (800) 495-8501;
  • Be aware of anyone who thanks you for a pledge you haven't made;
  • Be aware if you receive any e-mails falsely claiming to be from an established legitimate organization such as a financial institution, business or government agency. The e-mail may request or direct the consumer to visit a certain website to update or provide personal and/or financial information and passwords. This is really a malicious attempt to collect customer information for the purpose of committing frauds; and
  • Do not allow anyone to access your computer unless you contacted the company. (Source: Ontario Provincial Police.)