The Definition: The Postman Scam is merely a clever twist on the normal workings of a ring of pickpockets. The primary goal of our gang is simple: NEVER GET CAUGHT! Elaborate schemes to divest themselves of stolen property lowers the odds of them getting pinched – so that they can continue to put the pinch on other unsuspecting marks.
The Mark: A man or woman standing in a queue at a public place, perhaps daydreaming about last weekend’s activities, tonight’s dinner, or next month’s holiday. Sadly, because our mark is not paying attention to her surroundings, it may not only cost her a purse or wallet, it may cost her dearly in time, money and aggravation. Not to mention the frustration attached to knowing she was the victim of a very preventable crime.
The Scam: Three scammers are working today’s mark, an unsuspecting woman standing in line at a bus stop. Our first hustler is directly behind the victim, wearing an overcoat against the chill, with her hands thrust firmly into her pockets. But wait – are they both really in her pockets? An examination will reveal that her coat is set up to facilitate the “dip,” since one of the arms and hands in her coat is phony, leaving her a free hand hidden safely within the coat next to her body. Done correctly, nobody will see anything unusual – our hustlers “hands” never leave the warmth of the coat pocket.
Within moments, our scammer’s sticky fingers flick unseen from inside the coat and liberate the unwatched purse from its careless position, inside a clumsily shouldered pocketbook.
Directly behind The Dip is The Handler. His job is to immediately relieve the dip of any incriminating evidence, should the mark stir from her torpor and actually realize what has been going on. However, since they are both in the queue, prudence dictates that if they want to insure that they remain undiscovered, there should be no evidence of purloined purses anywhere on their person. So into this macabre dance enters The Postman.
Hurrying along the sidewalk, apparently oblivious to those in the queue, our Postman strides purposefully along, carrying a yellow, manila envelope. The envelope is not sealed – it is intentionally left open, though it is already addressed. Without breaking stride, as The Postman passes The Handler, the purse is quickly dropped into the waiting envelope. A few steps away is the Post Box, ready to accept the loot and to insure it will be delivered quickly and safely to the gang’s lair – ironically, with all the speed and protection the government can muster.
The Lesson Learned: A watched pot never boils; so goes the old adage. It is, of course, a falsehood. But to say that a watched purse will not be stolen? Well, that may have a remarkable degree of truth to it. We have already mentioned that Job One to a scam artist is to not get caught. Any potential mark that is paying attention to his or her valuables will be passed over, as the dip will move on to easier, less challenging, prey. Never, repeat NEVER, take your purse for granted. Feel like daydreaming? Go ahead. Make a scammer’s day.