Thieves using elaborate scam to steal credit cards

Thieves using elaborate scam to steal credit cards
SEATAC, Wash. -- Police are on the hunt for a group of predators who are targeting people at grocery stores throughout King County.

Police say a group of at least four people devised an elaborate plan to steal from unsuspecting customers.

First, one of the crooks looks over the shoulder of a customer during checkout to get the person's PIN number.

"They're following people around grocery stores, mostly people over the age of 50, and they are somehow videotaping or watching them as they enter their PIN on the PIN pad," said Don Carroll with the Kirkland Police Department.

Then the group stops the customer at his or her car to ask for directions, but it's only a ruse to get their cards.

One recent victim from SeaTac said the thieves know exactly what they're doing.

"He started putting the map through the window and his hand was in back of the map he unlocked the door," the woman said.

The man proceeded to spread the map out in front of her before opening the door and getting inside, where he somehow got his hands on her wallet.

"They don't actually steal the card," Carroll said. "They're running it through a skimmer and they're putting it back."

The victim in SeaTac didn't even know she had been swindled until a week later, when her card was declined.

"They emptied the checking and went into the savings, and by the time they went in there the account had been shut down," she said.

The SeaTac woman was just one of at least 12 victims in King County.

Anyone with information about the thieves is asked to call the police.