One more scam to worry about: distract and grab thefts that prey on people's kindness.

Stafford Township police said there have been reported cases of the scam which targets people who are by themselves in a store, restaurant or parking lot.

How the 'distract and grab' scam works

The scammer will distract the customer with something as simple as a question to focus their attention. Sometimes they will approach a lone shopper about a lost child or asking directions.  While they engage in conversation, a second person will steal items and money from open purses in shopping cars or items out of an unlocked vehicle.

Police said that simple things like always locking a vehicle and keeping a purse closed can help thwart the scam. Other suggestions:

⚫ Carry your purse or wallet on your person; do not place it in the cart.

⚫ If you take a wallet into the store, do not leave it in the cart.

⚫ Consider bringing a carabineer and clip the purse or wallet to the cart.

⚫ If you do not have young children with you, use the child safety belt to fasten your purse in the cart.

⚫ Use a handbag that zips or has a snap flap closure

Miami Springs, Florida police said that thieves in this scam tend to come at a shopper from an angle to force the shopper to turn away from their bag leaving enough time for the second person to reach into a purse and take a cell phone, checkbook or wallet.

There is often a second person involved in the scam at banks. A second person will act as a lookout inside the bank to point out who has just withdrawn a large amount of cash.

Dan Alexander is a reporter for New Jersey 101.5. You can reach him at

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