Since Jan. 2021, Alberta RCMP have received multiple reports of victims being approached by individuals in a series of transaction scams and distraction thefts. The most recent incidents have been reported in Calgary, Airdrie, Chestermere, Okotoks, and Brooks. Police believe this criminal activity to be linked to a travelling organized crime group.
Typically, suspects approach individuals requesting money for gasoline or food in exchange for jewellery and other goods. Suspects often take advantage of victims' goodwill, claiming they require cash in order to return home or feed their families. Goods sold to victims are later discovered to be lower quality than initially disclosed or are fake.
Victims have also reported cases of distraction theft; such instances may involve the suspect making physical contact with the victim through a handshake or a hug while removing valuables from the individual without their knowing.
The criminal activity conducted by this specific group is known to police, however suspects are difficult to identify due to their transient lifestyle and often fraudulent identification.
The Alberta RCMP warns the public to be cautious of this type of suspicious activity. If you are a victim of such a scam or theft, please contact your local law enforcement.