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And in other Scam News the Two $10s for a $20 Guy is Back – Of Course

by Prince Of Petworth May 11, 2016 at 2:10 pm 29 Comments

“Dear PoPville,

The scam is alive and well at the 14th & W CVS. I just saw a man (older, slim, African-American, stooped over and pushing a walker) ask the cashier to exchange his $20 for two $10s “for a cab.” Then he turned around and almost immediately asked me (in line to check out) if I had a $20 for two $10s. When I got up to the cashier, I told her and her manager about the guy and the scam. They hadn’t heard of it before. Time for another PSA!”

  • Cleveland Park runner

    For those of us new here (and naive), what’s the scam?

  • Byron

    Please enlighten me – what is the scam here?

  • lizcolleena

    Is everyone who asks to make change trying to pull off this scam? I mean, asking the cashier and a person in line back to back doesn’t automatically mean they’re trying to pull a fast one – maybe they just remembered the store won’t make change …

    • textdoc

      It sounds like the guy asked the cashier to break his $20 bill, and then asked the next customer to put it back together again (so to speak).
      The scam involves someone wanting to change two $10s for one $20 — which is straight-off suspicious because there’s no compelling reason why you would want to combine smaller bills into larger ones (unless, say, you had five $1s and wanted a $5 to take up less room in your wallet). When the mark gives the scammer a $20, the scammer quickly whips out a $1 bill and claims the mark gave him a $1 bill and shortchanged him.

    • madmonk28

      There is no scenario where a stranger on the street is going to get me to open my wallet. Never take anything someone on the street is trying to hand you and never take out your wallet for someone on the street.

      • Anonymous

        +1. Besides, I can’t think of any reasonable scenarios where two $10s aren’t as good as one $20.

    • victoria

      Yes. Everyone -anyone – at all times – trying to make change anywhere outside of a bank is trying to pull off a scam.

    • HaileUnlikely

      The guy we’re talking about here tries to do the opposite of make change. Say I had four $5’s, and I asked you to give me a $20 bill for them, because for some reason I can’t use four $5’s and really need a single $20 bill. That would be suspicious, no?

  • CHV

    Someone needs to actually give this guy a $10 and a $1 bill for his $20.

    • textdoc

      The scam involves him supposedly trying to combined two $10 bills into one $20 bill — not breaking a $20 bill for two $10 bills.

      • textdoc


  • I saw him at the Convention Center metro and walking towards Chinatown yesterday. Yes he was pushing a walker this time.

  • Abe

    He once tried to get me twice in one day – always the same guy with the walker. I tell him I know his scam and move on.

  • MBME

    My husband is a very recent immigrant to the US and DC and this JUST happened to him at a Starbucks near Thomas Circle.

  • orla

    I like the idea of trying to give the guy a $10 and a $1. Can someone try that please?

    • Abe

      He asks for a $20 for two tens and when you give him a $20 he says you gave him a $1 bill. So it doesn’t even make sense. Only reason to do that would be that your wallet is too full of money and you want to slim it down

  • Joan

    He hit me up at Chinatown Metro transferring to Green/Yellow line around 330pm today. Didn’t know he had a rep but my BS antennas went up. He asked a few more people and didn’t get a hit.

  • Sue

    We used to call it the Flim Flam and it is remarkable to watch. You follow it step by step and then you’re out $40 and can’t figure out how it happened!

  • Steve

    This guy has been around for years. I have seen the police “ban” him from the neighborhood – what a BS response to criminal behavior. He has tried it inside of Howard University Hospital, which is a pretty nasty thing to try on folks when they are trying to get medical care or visit someone in the hospital.

    If this isn’t aggressive panhandling, and therefore illegal, I’m not sure that I understand the law. Attempting to scam others is illegal, right? The walker is a recent addition. Perhaps he tried to scam the wrong guy.

    • I’m going to go out on a limb and guess that more than one guy knows of and participates in this scam.

  • James

    I’m not sure how hard it is to inspect your money before exchanging it. It’s not like he’s asking for twenty $1 bills. Here’s a $10 and another $10 – check. Any further argument and just walk away. Like he’s going to call the cops?

    • textdoc

      You misunderstood how the scam works — it’s not about breaking a $20 bill; it’s the reverse.

  • Larry

    He approached me today at 20th + Q Sts. NW. I declined to help.

  • Spoolia

    I just fell for this in front of the YMCA on W. Like just now. What a sucker I am. Watch out folks.

  • ChrisCoDC

    He approached me on the upper level of Gallery Place metro station this morning. Same guy as described in this post.


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