Even in 2009, you don't have to be Bernie Madoff to scam people. On the other end of sophistication was the ploy we fell victim to on the BART last night, when a scraggly woman got in our face and demanded a dollar for four quarters, and then just made off with our buck. Damn her!
Somewhere between the Madoff scheme and BART ploy falls this devastatingly effective scam police report went down on Church Street near Cesar Chavez last month.
A thirtysomething, 5-foot-1 man who claimed to be Salvadorean approached a 70-year-old woman acting "confused and worried" because he couldn't find a lawyer's office. A 5-foot-4 woman in sunglasses and a hat who claimed to be from Puerto Rico approached, pretending she didn't know the guy, but turned out to be the Natasha to his Boris.
The two began to weave a tale about how they needed $10,000 from the older woman to make half the "deposit" to claim the prize money on a $1 million lotto ticket, which they then showed the woman. They must have been incredibly charming or persuasive or both, because the older woman ponied up the $10,000 in cash, which the duo then slid into a FedEx envelope. They then switched the envelope with an identical one filled with cut-up newspaper, and off they went, $10,000 richer.
Call us jaded, but don't go around trusting folks with $10,000 of your hard-earned cash.