Coverage you can count on begins with a warning from law enforcement. Be on the lookout for scammers.
Richmond County investigators say two men used the so-called “pigeon drop scam” to con a 74 year-old woman out of a substantial amount of money at a Walmart.
There have been several “pigeon drop” cases in our area over the last several weeks. Investigators say the scammers usually target elderly women. Now, they are asking for your help to identify the two men connected to one of the cases.
“It's actually a very, very old crime,” says Sgt. Michael Shane McDaniel.
Investigators say the “pigeon drop” is a confidence trick that usually involves two suspects. Take a good look at these two men walking out of the North Augusta Walmart, because investigators say they are running a “pigeon drop” scam in our area.
“They will dress nice. They will speak with proper English, be very articulate with the person. If they say they are representing a church, then they are going to use scripture to gain the victim's trust,” says McDaniel.
Investigators say the “pigeon drop” usually starts in a public area, like a parking lot. The suspects start a conversation with the victim about religion. Next, they tell the victim that they will give her a large amount of money if she puts up some money first. The victim is asked to withdraw cash from her bank so she can add it to the pot.
All of the money is put into a bag and the 3 individuals pray over it. Next, the bag is given to the victim, but when the victim opens the bag, there is no longer any money inside and both suspects are gone.
“If it sounds too good to be true, then more than likely it is definitely too good to be true,” says McDaniel.
McDaniel says the victims are usually taken for thousands of dollars. He says the con-artists are smart, but he says there is a way to outsmart them.
“Ask them for their name and contact number. If it's legit, they will have no problem to give you their name or contact number. And then you can contribute to their charity,” says McDaniel.
Of course, McDaniel says the best piece of advice is to call law enforcement or do research before giving your money to a stranger.