Heads Up – Scammer around Thomas and Scott Circles

by Prince Of Petworth May 6, 2013 at 1:45 pm 59 Comments

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Dear PoPville,

Just wanted to let you know about a scam that has been occurring on 15th Street between and around Massachusetts and P Streets, NW, area. A dark-skinned man with a Kangol-like cap claims he’s a taxi cab driver and approaches pedestrians who are usually walking alone and rushing to their destination. He has two $10 bills in hand and asks if the pedestrian has a $20 bill in exchange for the two $10 bills. The pedestrian provides the guy a $20 bill and takes the two $10s. As the pedestrian walks away, he yells out, indicating that the pedestrian gave him a dollar, not a $20. Embarrassed, the pedestrian takes the $1 bill back and gives the man a $20.

They guy just made $19. The pedestrian had given him a $20 bill originally, and he quickly switched for a $1 bill, subsequently yelling after the pedestrian for giving him the small bill.

I got scammed this way last week in front of Latrobe Apartments on 15th, a block up from Whole Foods, realizing minutes after the exchange that I originally had $45 on me, two $20s and a $5 bill, that is, I had no dollar bills to mistakenly give this guy. My coworker was just approached this morning on 15th and Massachusetts in the intersection. Knowing about how I was scammed, she gave the guy a firm “no” and continued on her way. Can’t help but wonder what happens when the pedestrian has no other $20 bills to give to the guy (i.e., if he or she had only one $20 bill to begin with and thus couldn’t exchange it for a $1 bill even if he/she wanted to).


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