Edinburgh, Fife & East Scotland

Japanese tourists in Edinburgh targeted in bank card scam

Police
Image caption Police said the tourists were targeted by men who were posing as police officers.

Police in Edinburgh have warned the public to be on their guard after two Japanese tourists were targeted in a bank card scam by men posing as police officers.

The tourists were approached separately by two men who claimed to be carrying out financial checks.

They asked the visitors to insert their bank cards and pin numbers into a device as part of their inquiries.

One of the tourists later found cash had been taken from his account.

The other entered a fake pin and was not defrauded.

The first incident happened on Saturday at about 15:30 at Playfair Steps, and the second near the top of Broughton Street at 18:15 on the same day.

In both cases, the tourists - aged 51 and 31 - were approached by a man, also believed to be Japanese, who asked them to take a photograph shortly before two men arrived claiming to be police officers.

'Very concerning'

Lothian and Borders Police said they were conducting inquiries in the city centre to identify the three men believed to be involved in the incidents.

A police spokesman said: "It's very concerning that two men, who are tourists to the city, were targeted by males impersonating police officers.

"We believe the Japanese man who asked the victims to take a picture is also involved in this fraud and anyone who can assist us in identifying the three suspects is asked to contact police immediately.

"Police officers always carry identification and will never ask for your bank or credit card details.

"Anyone approached in this manner should decline the request and report the matter to their local policing team."

The first suspect is described as Japanese, 40 to 50 years old, of slim build with short black hair. He was wearing an indigo blue puffer jacket, jumper, dark trousers and was carrying a small digital camera.

The second man who is wanted for questioning is white, 40 to 50 years old with a fat build and wearing a black jumper and black trousers.

The third suspect is described as white, 40 to 50 years old with a slim build. He was wearing black clothing.

'Blessing' fraud

Earlier this month, a Buddhist was robbed in Edinburgh after giving jewellery and money to three fellow Chinese women to be blessed.

The 64-year-old was approached in the St James Centre by two women who discussed setting up a meeting with a spiritual healer.

She later handed over thousands of pounds of family valuables at the Balmoral Hotel.

Once the items within the bag had been blessed, the woman returned home - having been told not to open the bag for a few weeks in order to allow the charm to take effect.

However, after inspecting the contents of her bag a few days later, the victim discovered it had been swapped and her possessions were gone.

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