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The Magic Cafe Forum Index » » If right you win, if wrong you lose... » » Found ring scam (0 Likes) Printer Friendly Version

Larry Barnowsky
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Cooperstown, NY where bats are made from
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I'm now in Paris on vacation and noticed this old scam being executed by young women wearing scarves over their heads. As you are about to pass them on the street they bend down and appear to pick up a ring off the sidewalk. They ask if this is yours. I'm sure you know where this is leading. To the first woman I said yes it's mine keep it. A minute later a second women attempted to pull the same con. This time I answered, you need more practice on your finger palm. For those of you who don't know how the con works it can play out in a number of ways. One way is they say the'll split the proceeds of the sale to a jeweler (their jeweler) and allow you to hold the ring as collateral while you put down some of your own money (good faith) so something can be done until the bank opens etc. You're left with a worthless ring and whaever money you foolishly gave them. Anyone see something similar recently?

Larry
Vandy Grift
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Milwaukee
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Ah, the classics. You gotta respect the classics.
"Get a life dude." -some guy in a magic forum
DStachowiak
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Baltimore, MD
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It's the "Pigeon Drop"
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Larry Barnowsky
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Cooperstown, NY where bats are made from
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Did they do that in David Mamet's House of Games (Ricky Jay was in it)?
DStachowiak
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Baltimore, MD
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Yes, it was a more elaborate version but the same basic scam. Also see the lottery ticket scam Nicholas Cage teaches his "daughter" in Matchstick Men, it's yet another version.
Don
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Fell out of bed.
Dragged a comb across m' head.
Vandy Grift
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Milwaukee
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They also do it in the beginning of the movie "Shade". I have some nice replica coins that were made for this particular scam.
"Get a life dude." -some guy in a magic forum
DStachowiak
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Baltimore, MD
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Vandy,
That's a different scam, not the pigeon drop. There's a great version of this that involves selling a mutt as a valuable rare breed of dog, usually in a bar. For a description, see Stephen J. Cannell's "King Con".
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Fell out of bed.
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Vandy Grift
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I'm not talking about selling a phony coin as if it was a rare coin. I'm talking about using the phony coin as the found object. You can call it whatever you want. I don't care what the "official" names is, the scam is 1000 years old.
"Get a life dude." -some guy in a magic forum
DStachowiak
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Vandy, I thought you were referring to the FOUND RING scam Gabriel Byrne pulls when he was dressed as a bum at the beginning of Shade. I just re-read your original post, and see you are talking about one that uses coins. My mistake. I'll have to watch it again as I don't remember the Pigeon Drop with coins in "Shade", but I clearly had the ring thing stuck in my head and thought that was the scene you were referring to.
The Found Ring scam Larry is referring to is the old Pigeon Drop. The scam referred to in "House of Games" is also the Pigeon Drop. The Found Ring swindle in Shade is a totally different scam (although it is also older than the hills), and that's what I was responding to. Sorry about that!
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Fell out of bed.
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Vandy Grift
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No, no no. I wasn't clear. The Shade thing and the coin thing were two differnt references. They did use a ring in the movie shade. The found ring, lost coin, and those pigeon drop types of scams are all very similar. Whether someone reports a lost ring, or someone gets a call about a lost coin, or is approached on the street about a bag of money someone just found... And whether they buy the found object, put down earnest money, or however it plays out. It's all just varation on the same theme.
"Get a life dude." -some guy in a magic forum
DStachowiak
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Right, and the mechanism that makes them all work is exactly the same, it's the sound of a mental "cash register chime" going off in the mark's brain.
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Fell out of bed.
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Vandy Grift
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That's right. In any event, they buy a doughnut, but all they get is the hole.
"Get a life dude." -some guy in a magic forum
Vandy Grift
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This guy sells replica coins with "authenticating" documents. lol. These would work well.
http://cgi.ebay.com/Rare-Indian-Head-Pen......ViewItem

Sorry for the long link that screws up the thread. I don't know how to make those little, one word links.

He also describes the classic scam as you mentioned. The true "lost coin" or lost whatever scam.
"Get a life dude." -some guy in a magic forum
DStachowiak
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Baltimore, MD
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That's a cool item, thanks for the link! BTW, a trip to a coin shop and a look through their "bargain bin" will turn up all kinds of old junk coins that can be had for as little as two bits, that could be used for this. If you wanted to dress it up, they have all kinds of collectors envelopes, plastic coin capsules etc, and a few minutes with the word processor can produce impressive documentation...

(mind you, I'm not encouraging this sort of thing!)
Woke up.
Fell out of bed.
Dragged a comb across m' head.
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