Little Rock police put out an alert today about a pair of men working a swindle known to cops as a pigeon drop. It's convoluted by design, but it starts with somebody ostensibly needing help handling a large sum of money and ends with the pigeon turning over money from his or her own checking account.
It's a real-life enactment, I guess, of the Nigerian e-mail schemes. Lt. Terry Hastings' warning is on the jump. It was supported by six police reports of such scams since September. They accounted for more than $24,000 in stolen cash and $10,000 in stolen jewelry. Men and women of various ages were victimized after being approached on bank and shopping center parking lots.
POLICE NEWS RELEASE
In recent months, several “Pigeon Drop” incidents have occurred in the city. The victims are being approached at their vehicles by a black male who shows them a note with an address on it. The suspect tells the victim that he cannot read and has recently received a large sum of cash. The suspect has a paper sack containing what appears to be a large sum of money. The suspect tells the victim that he has been told that he cannot deposit the large sum of money into the bank and then be able to make a withdrawal. The suspect asks the victim to take him to the address on the paper so he can meet someone who says they can help him find a place to live. As the victim is driving the suspect to the address, the suspect then tells the victim to pull into another business where they are approached by a second suspect. The two suspects act as if they do not know each other and the second suspect offers to help the first suspect with the money. Both suspects then ask the victim to drive to the bank and withdraw a large amount of money to prove the victim can withdraw large amounts from the bank. The victim then enters the bank and withdraws the money and returns to the suspects. The suspects persuade the victim to give them their jewelry and money to prove that they can trust each other and agree to meet up at a later time to return the items. The suspects then place the paper sack in the trunk of the victim’s car and leave with the cash and jewelry of the victim. The paper sack has very little cash in it.
The first suspect is described as a B/M 35 to 45 years of age, 6’, 200 lbs. The second suspect is described as a B/M 45 to 55 years of age, 5’8”, 160 lbs.
No arrests have been made at this time. The victims in these thefts have not been elderly. Please get this information out to everyone.
If you are approached by a person who has what sounds like an unbelievable opportunity you should realize that it is unbelievable. We offer the following tips to help reduce the chances of being a victim of such schemes.
1. Never withdraw money from your account based on a stranger’s word.
2. If you are at a bank ask the individuals to go in the bank and talk with a bank representative to see what they can do to help.
3. Never give a ride to a stranger that you just met on a parking lot.
4. Tell the person that you will call the police for assistance.
5. As always report suspicious activity to police immediately.
6. If you see someone who you believe is being pulled into this scheme call police immediately.
Many of these types of schemes are carried out on the elderly. Please visit with your elderly family members and educate them on the possibility of someone trying to get their money.