Pigeon drop scam reported here

From Staff Reports

Oct. 5, 2008 - When times get hard, most people tighten their purse strings and work a bit harder. Unfortunately, a few try to take advantage of those hardships by attempting cons designed to trick honest people into parting with their money, and senior citizens and good-willed, charitable individuals seem to be some of the prime targets.

One con game that law enforcement officials have had reported time and again is the old pigeon drop scam, and two local residents report that some of those more nefarious characters are at it again.

One local resident was approached at Wal-Mart by a woman asking, "Did you see that man that nearly ran over me?" When the intended victim denied seeing anything, a man walked up and claimed to have witnessed the event.

The woman claimed to work for an attorney and followed the victim to her car and got in. She pulled out what appeared to be a roll of money, which she offered to share with the victim and man if they'd be "witnesses," provided they didn't tell anyone about the cash. The victim drove her to Chili's, and the man followed in another vehicle. She then asked to go to the bank, but said she couldn't be seen with her and asked to be dropped off at the Dollar Store on Main Street.

Fortunately, after leaving the bank, the woman used her cell phone to call her son, who told her it was "the biggest scam ever." The son called the police, then went back to the Dollar Store, but the woman was no where to be seen."

Generally, in this type of scam, the scammers pretend to have a lot of money, but in fact usually have one or two real bills. The rest are either blank paper or fakes. They try to get their "mark" to put up a certain amount of good faith money, which they then run with after dropping the fake wad of cash, but in some cases they attempt to get access to the target's bank account information to drain the account.

After hearing the story, Karon Weatherman, director of marketing and program director for the Senior Citizens Center, forwarded the information to city officials and the News-Telegram in an effort to remind people to be alert for potential scams so they won't become victims.

Police on a regular basis warn local residents to remember these rules of thumb, "You don't get something for nothing," and "If it seems too good to be true, it usually is."

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