Police warn public of ‘you lost your $20’ scam

Photo by First Response Media.

Kingston Police are warning the public of a scam that has tricked numerous Kingstonians, some of whom have lost thousands of dollars.

The scam involves someone approaching victims in store parking lots. The scammer tells the victim that they’ve lost or dropped a $20 bill, but the scam actually begins well before that point, police explained in a press release on Tuesday, Sept. 11, 2018.

One suspect, usually the female in the pair of scammers, will stand behind the victim as they enter their personal identification number (PIN) at a store checkout. The second suspect is waiting in the parking lot and approaches the victim to tell them they’ve dropped $20. The victim will often take out their wallet to see if any cash is missing and, if they don’t, the suspect will encourage them to do so. According to police, when the wallet is opened, the suspect is able to discreetly take the credit card or debit card which was just used in the store. The pair of suspects then have the victim’s card and PIN and, once the victim leaves, the suspects quickly make numerous cash withdrawals at nearby automated teller machines (ATMs).

Police say that mostly women aged 60 to 80 are being targeted by the scam, which has cost some victims thousands of dollars.

Kingston Police remind the public to exercise caution when entering their PIN, and to also be wary of being approached by strangers in store parking lots.

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