'Distraction thefts': Limerick gardai issue warning as thieves target debit cards

David Hurley


David Hurley

The woman’s debit card was taken from her bag

The woman’s debit card was taken from her bag

GARDAI in Limerick are warning of a new distraction theft where thieves are specifically targeting contactless debit cards.

In follows an incident in recent days where a woman’s debit card was taken after she was approached in the car park of a shopping centre.

Gardai received a report on Friday, December 15 at 3.30pm after a woman had done her grocery shopping on the Childers Road and returned home. She checked her wallet and discovered that her debit card was missing.

"She immediately remembered that a short time earlier when she was putting her groceries into her car, she had been engaged in conversation by a young woman looking for directions," said Sgt Ber Leetch, divisional crime officer.

"It was now obvious that during that time this young woman’s accomplice had removed the debit card from her wallet but left the wallet and the cash. 

“This lady was distracted while her handbag was not in her view. She was very lucky as her debit card was cancelled by her bank before the thief had an opportunity to purchase anything on it."

Sgt Leetch said in other cases where the cards only are taken their loss may not be realised for a number of and a large amount of money could be gone before the cards are cancelled.

The garda is warning people to be "very aware of this type of distraction scam, to always keep your bag or wallet very close to you and that your debit and credit cards be checked frequently.

"Under no circumstances should the pin number of your account be stored with your cards, this number must be an easy to remember number for the card holder and it must be memorised and not shared with anybody," Sgt Leetch added.