Lost Ring at the Christmas Tree Lot
A well dressed woman driving a nice car shows up and walks the lot looking for just the right tree. Suddenly she becomes panicked and begins to frantically pace in a manner that will grab the attendant’s attention. “Oh my god I lost my engagement ring” she frantically blurts out. My fiance just gave me that at Thanksgiving dinner, he will kill me as she holds back tears. Please, I must retrace my steps, here is my number if you find it, I will pay a huge reward. She paces back and forth a little more and zooms away.
Spoiler alert, the only place this sad lass is heading is for the next lot on her list to recreate the same sad tale. Behind her comes the “good citizen” who happens to stumble upon the lost ring as if by luck. Things can really go two ways at this point, both involve leaving the ring with the attendant to “claim” the reward. The first plays on greed by getting the attendant to think he can pay half the reward himself and collect the full amount from a gleeful damsel in distress. The second on good will, where the attendant pays the full amount of the reward on the thought that it would be easier for our distraught maiden to come back to the lot than locate our good citizen who is probably on his way out of town.
The woman and the good citizen are confederates in the scam. The ring a worthless knockoff, and the number a prepaid cell. Could be “rare coins”, a “lost purse”, or an “important” USB file. A beautiful woman or someone who seems a little slow as the situation merits. Either way, suggest involving the police in any “REWARD” situation and keep your greed and goodwill in check if approached by a stranger with a story.
Unlike the ring scam, this plays on greed and dishonesty. The “victim” has to be willing to deal with employees that are going to cheat their boss.
The set-up could involve any electronic product, speakers appear to be fairly ubiquitous. Two seemingly hard workers will approach with an odd, but plausible yarn of some “extra” speakers from a job they just completed. They have glossy brochures and will sing the praises of the high tech install they just completed at some local establishment. Rather than return the unused components to the warehouse these enterprising lads will offload them to you for pennies on the dollar.
There are different outcomes of this transaction, from overpaying for a pair of functioning speakers to taking home boxes of junk. There is an old adage that “you can’t cheat an honest man”. Certainly this applies with this con, no matter what a jerk the boys claim to be working for.
Fix a Dent, or Cause one
The local news will report it is best this time a year to keep gifts hidden in your car, your purse zipped and close, or your wallet in an obstructed pocket away from sticky fingers. What of that ding on your car that a stranger will offer to fix for a few bucks? Sure you want to help a working man this time a year, but know that when you wash away the “waterproof putty” he applies last your dent will remain, your cash ling since vanished.
Finally, parking in a well lit area is always advised to prevent theft, but the “pull through” is best to avoid fake accidents. While not as common as other short cons in the lot, be careful when backing up, or better yet always pull forward. Avoid the sudden seemingly ill timed bump, and ANY random situation that involves your cash might be a good tell you are dealing with one more XMAS scammer working a crowded lot.