Police Scotland is advising the public to be aware of their personal belongings when out shopping, following reports of distraction thefts in Dundee and Perthshire within the last few days.
Officers are advising shoppers - particularly the elderly, who have been among the recent victims, to take every precaution to reduce the chances of their purses and handbags being stolen.
People carrying handbags, or indeed shopping bags, should never let them out of their sight and they should try to be aware of those around them at all times.
It should also be borne in mind that handbags should be kept secured, with their contents hidden from prying eyes.
It is important that bags are not left hanging at their owner’s back or by their sides, on or within pushchairs, or hooked onto shopping trolleys.
Ideally, they should be kept closed and placed against the front of their owner’s body.
In addition, shoppers should not take more money than they need when shopping.
Expensive items should be left at home, rather than carried in a purse or handbag. Purses should only be taken out of handbags when absolutely necessary – such as when paying for items at the till or check-out, or when taking cash from an ATM.
A police spokeswoman said: “If you are unfortunate enough to be a victim of this type of crime, contact the police immediately and also remember to cancel all credit and debit cards with the relevant issuing banks as soon as possible.”
In an emergency contact 999.
Alternatively, Police Scotland can be contacted on the non-emergency number 101, or speak to any police officer.