"If it looks too good to be true, it probably is." Keep this adage in mind the next time you're in a parking lot or shopping center and you get approached by a pair of strangers. That's the message from the Circuit Attorney's Office regarding a scam called the "Pigeon Drop."
The con usually begins with one of the con artists befriending their victim, known as the "pigeon." Victims can be of any age. The second con artist approaches them with money or other valuables, claiming he just found the items. The two scammers convince the victim to split the money or goods three ways, but first the victim needs to put up a sum of "good faith" money which will be returned after the money or goods are divided. The victim is taken to his/her bank and withdraws the money. The group then meets at a designated location where the victim hands over his money and is then given his share in a wrapped package. The con artists quickly leave when the victim opens the package only to discover nothing of value is in it.
The Missouri Attorney General gives these tips to avoid falling victim to this and other scams:
- If the situation seems unusual or makes you feel uncomfortable, walk away!
- Trust only people you know. Do not trust someone just because they are friendly or appear to be an authority figure.
- Talk to a police officer or your banker before withdrawing large sums of money at someone else's suggestion.
The Fraud Assistance Hotline number is (314) 612-1412.
Circuit Attorney's Office City of St. Louis
Office of the Circuit Attorney
Courts and Justice System