Police are warning people shopping and socialising in Wigan to watch out for their valuables, after a new scam hit the town in June.
Men of Middle Eastern appearance have been targeting pubs, nail bars, and estate agents, where people put their mobile phones on a table. Offenders are approaching the victims with leaflets which they use to cover the phone, before distracting them with conversation and leaving with both the leaflets and the phone.
Around nine incidents were reported to the police and officers are investigating these crimes.
DC Andy Partington from Wigan CID said: “We are asking people to be aware of their surroundings and keep an eye on their valuables when they are socialising in the area. I understand that most people like to keep their phone out when they are sat with friends, but I would encourage you to keep an eye out for suspicious behaviour and make sure you report it to us.
“These thieves are particularly targeting iPhones and I would encourage all smartphone owners to install a GPS enabled app so that if it gets stolen we can track it.”
The technology, that is free on iPhones and iPads and also available in free versions for the Blackberry and other smartphones and tablets means that owners can follow the movements of their devices should they misplace, lose or have them stolen.
Once loaded the technology allows owners to log their passwords into any other web-enabled computer, tablet or smartphone, and work with officers to hunt down the stolen device. Police are not able to use this technology without the owner’s consent and passwords.
The tracking applications can also be used by the owner to remotely lockdown and even delete sensitive or personal data from the device it to prevent thieves using it for other criminal activity.
For more information about keeping your phone safe visit: http://www.gmp.police.uk/mainsite/pages/wheresyours.htm
To report a crime or suspicious behaviour, call 101 or the