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Dear PoPville – Change scammer – beware

by Prince Of Petworth September 6, 2011 at 11:00 am 61 Comments


Photo by PoPville flickr user ekelly80

“Dear PoPville,

I was just in Miss Pixies when a guy came up to me and tried to pull a change scam. It wasn’t the classic “shortchange” scam (aka “gypsy scam”) but a variation – luckily I knew enough to recognize it. But please let people know this guy seems to be working the area – looking for victims who are distracted shopping.

He came up to me with 4 $5.00 bills and asked me to change them for a twenty. He said he was a taxi driver. I asked why wouldn’t a taxi driver prefer smaller bills to give change to his riders. He said something about having to pay a tax or something at a kiosk and it wouldn’t take a 5 dollar bill – “You know DC. .. ” he said.

It still made no sense, but I looked at the notes and they weren’t counterfeit, so I took the 4 5’s and gave him a twenty. As I was putting the 5s in my wallet, he thrust a $1.00 bill at me and told me I had given him a $1.00 instead of a $20.00.

I knew this wasn’t true, since I had just put 2 20’s in my wallet before leaving home. I stepped back so he couldn’t snatch back the 5s and told him I knew I had given him a 20. He immediately said “yes of course, I know” and pulled my 20 out from under his arm where he had hidden it, and smoothly went on claiming he had asked me for 20 singles for the 4 5s.

I told him I knew he was trying to pull a scam and he turned and fled the store. I alerted the staff and pointed him out to them, they said he had been in the day before asking for change at the counter.

Everyone should be aware of the basic money changing scams and how to recognize them (go to youtube) as well as this particular criminal – Black man early 40s, 5’8″-5’10 medium/heavy build, bit of a gut, walks slightly bowlegged, wore a white cap, polo shirt & Bermuda shorts.”

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