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The real Hustle – The jewelry Shop Scam

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The Jewelry Shop scam

A few words about the scam: This scam relies mostly on the tendency of people to comply with the requests of authorities without doing an in depth analysis of the situation they are confronting at that given moment. This tendency, combined with the fact that this type of scam brings the victims face to face with an unexpected situation, makes up for a very good reason for the scam to succeed.

What is the Jewelry Shop Scam? This scam is performed by at least 2 people, ideally 3. The scam is about orchestrating the arrest of a person who attempts to buy goods using (supposedly) counterfeit money. The scenario is as follows: The first scammer (usually a woman) enters a jewelry shop and looks for something expensive. As soon as she has spotted something of high value she agrees to buy it and brings out the cash. At the very moment that she (the scammer) finishes counting the cash, the other scammer(s) will enter the shop, approach her, show a fake police badge to the jewelry owner and arrest the female scammer by accusing her of using counterfeit cash. Subsequently, the fake police officers will claim that the counterfeit cash as well as the item that the female scammer attempted to purchase have to be confiscated as part of the evidence. They assure the jewelry owner that the item –which is now part of the proof of the illegal activities of the female client-, will be returned very soon and they ask him/her (the owner) to sign a fake, worthless report confirming the situation. It’s no wonder that the ‘police officers’ never really come back.

What you should be aware of:

Always remember that the authenticity of someone pretending to be an authority figure can be questioned. Questioning the authenticity of an authority figure is perfectly legal and it is part of your rights; do it, in a polite manner. Ask for an identity card/badge and examine it closely. Request the phone number of the department where this person claims to be working. If you are in serious doubts, ring that number and verify that this person does indeed work there. Also, make sure that the number you are ringing does actually reach the institution/department where it is supposed to belong and that in the other end of the line it’s not a scammer’s colleague.

Furthermore, don’t panic. Authority figures, who want to help you, are trained to make you feel secure and comfortable. A scammer who pretends to be for example a police officer will barely give you time to think. Step back for a minute and evaluate the situation. Is it really as urgent as the pseudo-authority figure presents it to be? Probably not…

Remember if you are into serious doubts, you can always call the police: it’s free, it’s quick and you will never be accused for calling the police, even if it turns out that there was no real reason for you to call them! Chances are that if you call the police, the scammer will try to find an excuse and leave the place before the police arrive and he gets arrested.

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