The Winnipeg Police Service is issuing a warning after several people fell victim to what it's describing as a ‘well-planned’ pickpocket scam and suffered serious financial loss.

The thefts happened between July 29 and Aug.7, police said in a release Wednesday.

The suspects targeted places across the city, most often large grocery stores with parking lots.

The scam started when a victim entered their debit PIN, not knowing someone was looking over their shoulder.

Once the victim was in the parking lot, the suspects distracted them near their vehicle—by either pointing out a flat tire or money on the ground.

It’s in that time the scammers pickpocketed the victim’s wallet.

With both the card and the PIN stolen, police said victims have suffered ‘significant financial losses.’

Winnipeg police offer these safety tips to avoid falling victim to the scam:

  •  Always cover your PIN as you enter the number;
  •  Be aware of your surroundings if vehicle shortly after using your bank card.

Police said the scammers are often a male and female working together, other times it’s one person working alone.