An elderly person was a victim of a distraction theft in Harrow Town Centre yesterday (23 March).
The incident happened at about 2:45pm in broad daylight as they were withdrawing cash from a machine on Station Road, Harrow.
Police said in a post on the OWL website that, whilst the victim was waiting for the cash to dispense, a male approached to the left and told the victim that the machine wasn’t working, and they should “go up the road”. The victim then told the male to “go away”.
He has continued to distract the victim, then shoved them in the upper arm and waist before pushing them aside.
The victim then went into the bank, reported it to a staff member who confirmed that £500 has been withdrawn from their account.
Police advised to follow these measures to prevent this type of crime:
• Be aware of your surroundings. If someone is crowding or watching you, cancel the transaction and go to another machine.
• If there is anything unusual about the cash machine, or signs of tampering, don’t use the machine and report it to the bank.
• Don’t accept help from seemingly well-meaning strangers and never allow yourself to be distracted.
• Stand close to the machine and always shield the keypad to avoid anyone seeing you enter your pin number.
• Once you have completed a transaction, discreetly put your money and card away before leaving the cash machine.