Con game preys on local residents
By LPR Staff
Two unidentified women are using an old confidence game to prey on the area”s Good Samaritans.
According to a report made to the Lockhart Police Department last week, two women approached a third in an area parking lot asking for her help. The women claimed to be holding a winning lottery ticket, and asked their victim t
o redeem it for them, explaining that they could not redeem the ticket themselves because of outstanding arrest warrants.
They asked the victim for a $3,000 “good faith deposit” to secure her cooperation, assuring her that not only would they return her money, but they would share the lottery winnings with her after the ticket was redeemed.
The women, and the $3,000, disappeared.
“This is a common scheme,” said Lockhart Police Chief Frank Coggins. “Often, [the perpetrators] will suggest they call a third party for advice, and then have an accomplice answer the phone and talk to the victim. In this case, a friend answered the phone “Texas Lottery Commission.””
The victim mentioned the incident to her son, who later informed the police. However, the victim has not filed an official complaint in connection with the crime.
The Office of the Attorney General began warning Texans of such schemes, often referred to as “pigeon drops,” as early as 2000. In this case, the perpetrators used a lottery ticket as the bait, but many incidences of “found money” are often used. Most frequently, the perpetrators will claim to have found a bag of money, with evidence that the money was made from drug sales. The accomplice on the telephone often poses as an attorney or a banker.
Pigeon drop schemes often go unreported, as victims are frequently ashamed of having been tricked out of large sums of money, Coggins said.
These schemes often target the elderly, but any well-meaning individual can easily become a mark. Both local and statewide authorities encourage citizens and bank employees to take several simple steps to protect the public from such crimes.
As conventional wisdom dictates, if something sounds too good to be true, it probably is. Everyone should take caution when presented with an offer from a stranger for free money. More often than not, the stranger who offers free money does not mean well.
Bank employees should take note of customers who suddenly decide to make withdrawals of large sums of cash, particularly when they are accompanied to the bank by someone else, or when they are acting giddy or out-of-sorts. Some banks offer printed information on con games that tellers are asked to present to such customers.
Most important, anyone who believes they have been targeted by this or any other confidence scheme should contact local authorities immediately.
Because no official report was made of the incident in Lockhart last weekend, limited information is available with regard to the perpetrators. Anyone with information regarding this incident is encouraged to contact the Lockhart Police Department at (512) 398-4401.