fraud, scams, hoax & hackers!

The Melon Drop Scam

Posted by Awareness

The Definition: First, a word about the name Melon Drop Scam. You may or may not have been aware that at one time, melons were selling for more than £40 each – in Tokyo. Armed with this knowledge, enterprising British scammers, while holding a melon, would orchestrate an accidental-on-purpose “bump” into a sightseeing Japanese tourist. To the mark, the value of the melon that just fell to the ground and shattered was….£40! They would, of course, accept responsibility for the “accident” and compensate our hustler accordingly.

That scam has morphed itself into a much broader hustle. Now, a lovely lady scammer practices her nefarious trade using more common valuables, and on a much wider sample of folks walking the streets.

The Mark: Usually a male (remember, our scammer is a fetching female) who is well-dressed, walking in an up-market part of the city. He looks like he would want to avoid a scene, and he looks like he has a few pounds in his pocket as well.

The Scam: There are three distinct phases to this scam: the “bump”; the “apology”; and the “appeal.” Here’s how it works:

While walking in an area of high-end shops, our scammer is carrying a wrapped present, which ostensibly contains an expensive vase. In truth, the present contains nothing but broken glass, which has been packaged and festively wrapped during the set-up phase of the sting.

When an appropriate mark is spied, she positions herself so that she is walking in front of him, and at a slower rate of speed. As the mark comes to a position just behind and to the side, our scammer abruptly stops and turns – forcing the mark to bump into her.


Crash! To the ground drops the present containing the “vase”. The startled mark immediately stops to help out, often reaching down to pick up the package while the hustler is bemoaning the entire unfortunate situation. Phase One has been completed.

Now the scammer starts to create a scene, loudly blaming the mark for his carelessness. The more the mark protests that perhaps it was she who was walking carelessly, the more our phony “victim” howls in protest, as she shakes a boxful of an obviously broken vase. Now what? This was a present for mum! The poor mark is caught in a most embarrassing situation; heads are starting to turn. What is he to do but apologize? And so he does, and in doing so the vise tightens on his cash. He has been maneuvered into Phase Two, and by apologizing, has admitted some fault. Our scam artist knows quite well how to exploit this inadvertent “admission.”

She’s on her way to see mum for her birthday. What is she to do now? She cannot afford another vase…how much is it, you ask? Why, its £60.

Struggle as he might, the mark is sinking deeper and deeper into the scam, and now come Phase Three, the appeal to his decency. He is asked to “be reasonable.” He is mightily embarrassed, and now he is being advised by the mark to “do the decent thing.” Finally backed into a corner from which his only escape is to flee a damsel in distress, which he will not do, he reaches into his pocket and the negotiation begins. Where does it end? Twenty pounds later? Thirty? Fifty? Whatever the final amount, our poor mark has wrongfully enriched the scammer, who will move on to her next victim.

The Lesson Learned: Can we advise you not to be a gentleman? Hardly. As is the case with so many of these scams, the set-up is so well-thought-out and the execution so well-rehearsed, that it is often not possible to extricate yourself from the clutches of a determined scammer. All we can do is try to shine a bright light on the many and varied forms these scams take, and hope that by becoming educated, we can avoid becoming victims ourselves.

  1. Be Careful Out There Said,

    Okay, in case people somehow think that this show is total BS, it’s not. What I’m about to write is very similar to what happened to me and I am writing it so others protect themselves better.

    Let’s get the first thing out of the way, always protect your pin number no matter where you use it either at an ATM machine or using debit. Also, change your pin number every few months or if that is too much for you, do it every year. I do, but hey, it’s your money.

    This is what happened. I finished work and got paid in cash. Since I was nearby an ATM machine that also happened to be my bank’s, I figured I would deposit the funds into my account, like any other day. The place I made the deposit is in a very busy area in the downtown area and even has tons of cameras in the place, but honestly, who really watches them unless they suspect something suspicious. I mention this simply because it’s obvious that the people doing what I’m about to tell you, don’t care about cameras, or they were just stupid, one of the two.

    So you can get an idea, the ATM I was going to has two machines. They are not the normal bank machines, they are smaller in size than most normal bank machines. I’d say they are the ones that look like the ones you commonly see in a pub/bar.

    I’m approaching the ATM machine and notice right away the person in front of me looks a bit suspicious. He grabs a deposit envelope and looks behind me. He suddenly takes an empty envelope and walks away.

    I approach the machine and instead of the usual ‘insert your ATM card’ thing, it had up on the screen “Do You Want Another Transaction”?

    Instantly I think to myself the guy forgot to take his card out. Now I’m going to be honest here, I took this as an opportunity and decide to continue with another transaction. I did it mostly out of curiosity, since the guy was acting kinda weird, and a little greed. Hey, at least I’m honest!

    Since this was kinda not a normal thing to happen, I first checked the balances of the cheque-ing and savings account. I did this just in case I was out of it from working a long shit that perhaps I was too tired to notice that maybe i already put my card in. After all, if it was my card, I sure as hell didn’t want to take out my own money thinking it was not from my own account.

    The amount showing was around $2200.00 for cheque-ing and the savings was a penny. That’s right, a penny. I’ll come back to this matter later.

    So being a little paranoid that the guy might come back soon realizing he forgot his bank card, I withdrawed $240.00. The money came out and I quickly put it in my wallet. After that, it asked again if I wanted another transaction, which I clicked ‘yes’ and proceeded to take out $200, since I was also worried that since most banks only allow a maximum of a $500.00 withdraw, and promptly put the cash in my wallet. Finally, out of fear that the guy might come back, plus a lineup was forming behind me, I selected ‘no’ and took the account print-out. I’ll get to that later as well.

    Now comes the whole reason I’m writing this post. The next course of action that you would think would occur would be that the card is ejected, right? Wrong. I repeat, NO ATM CARD EJECTED FROM THE MACHINE.

    Being a somewhat fast thinker when it comes to matters like this, I knew someone hacked the machine. But just to make sure, I quickly left and went to another ATM nearby that was also by chance from my bank, and checked my balances. I did this to double check that I didn’t accidentally withdraw the $440.00 from my own account. The balances were normal and it was most definitely not taken out of my account.

    Being smart, I didn’t deposit my money that I made form my job that night simply because something was a bit strange and I was worried that my pin number might be copied.

    Let’s go over my theory as to what could of possibly happened.

    First, I forgot to tell you, the $440.00 I withdrew, on the print out it showed the previous person made a withdraw of $80.00

    Next. Isn’t it strange that the balance for the savings account is only a penny? I think it is very important. In fact, I believe that whoever hacked the machine managed to somehow access the ATM’s current funds. Who the hell has a balance of a penny for a savings account? Unless, like my theory, it was the ATM’s current balance. $2200.00 sounds about right for a normal ATM balance. Since if it was the ATM balance, it wouldn’t need a savings account and thus it would show, like it did, a balance of a penny.

    My only other explanation is someone managed to get another person’s pin number in a similar fashion as “The Real Hustle” suggests, and the withdraw of $80.00 was from the persons savings account. The guy got nervous when I was behind him and promptly took off forgetting to end the transaction. I somehow doubt it though, since most thieves would rather go or the big time. honestly, if you saw a bigger balance, you would go for the $2200.00 and not a mere $80.00

    Why am I telling you all this? I find scams interesting and it is also good to know them so you can protect yourself.

    You can believe me or not if you think I’m BS, but honestly, why would I make up a story like this?

    I’m not saying for people to do what I did, since what I did was not exactly legal. I did it to see why the guy was acting weird, and my instincts were right.

    I hope to hell banks can protect themselves better this way, because if it was someone else’s money the guy took, and myself, I would hate it to happen to me. But I honestly still believe there is ways to fuck around with an ATM machine so you can get free money, since if you were paying attention, the amount taken out was $80.00, plus the $440.00 equals $520.00, more than the usual withdraw. In fact, it even says on the bank’s machine every time you withdraw that maximum amount per day is in the amount of $500.00.

    Again, believe me or not, but it happened to me just a few weeks ago, and it’s been on my mind for a while and I wanted to tell someone to see what you think it might have been as I have been reading up on ATM hacking to see what it was, not so I could do it, but for protection and for curiosity.

  2. Joe Bloggs Said,

    Lol, working a long shit!! Made me piss myself.

  3. chance Said,

    how do you think the guy hacked the machine?

  4. Roby Said,

    Great site!!!
    But why did you abandoned it ?

  5. Jen Said,

    I think I’m more inclined to believe that the card got stuck instead of some guy “hacking” a bank machine. The notion of hacking a bank machine is absolutely ridiculous… especially considering it sounds like it would be very complicated and difficult… whereas stealing bank cards and credit cards is ridiculously easy.

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