Pigeon Drop – Found Money Scam

A pair or a team of swindlers work together to accomplish the pigeon drop. The key element is supposed found money which will be shared between the one who found the money and the victim (pigeon). The scam is normally committed on an older victim but can be committed on anyone. It is performed in large public places such as the shopping mall or a parking lot. Variations and details on pigeon drop may vary, but all will somehow relate to or follow this general described pattern.

pigeon drop - found money scam

One befriends an unsuspecting consumer, the pigeon, and starts a conversation about weather, children, husband or wife and similar chit chat. The other con artist approaches the other swindler with found money or other valuables. They make sure you hear the conversation and while you already know the situation now, they offer you a deal. Swindler(s) can be male or female, young or older, but with usually one thing in common. They will look and be friendly and have honest faces and pleasant personalities. This is their natural masquerade and how they gain your trust or in other words, steal your money.

An examination will reveal the package contains what appears to be a large amount of money. There is no label or ID present and the stated likelihood is that whoever lost the money probably came by it dishonestly and can not claim it, so your returning the money is ruled out as impossible. First they will talk excitedly about how much money is in the bag and what each could do with the money if it was theirs, skillfully drawing you greedily into the benefits of the scheme. One of the suspects volunteers to check with her “lawyer” to get advice on what to do with the found money. After some rehearsed conversation, the con artists agree to split the money three ways with you and arrange to meet at a lawyer’s office so you can all equally split the money. But there is a problem…How can they trust you? To get your share, you’ll need to put up some “good faith” money, which they will be returned to you after the goods are divided when you meet again. They will give their good faith money in the bag also. When you arrive at the previously assigned location, you soon realize no one is or will be there.

The dumping tactics may also be slightly different. After all three of you put the good faith money in the bag, one of the swindlers will create a diversion and switch the real bag with a false bag of equal weight. While they go to park the car or go to the bathroom, they leave you with a bag of papers and before you know it, they are miles away with your added good faith money.

There are various reasons why this works when it is mostly targeted against elderly women. Their vision may be blurred by hopes of getting something for nothing and may become concerned that resistance will result in physical violence. Swindlers know what to say and who to say it to, as they target as many victims as possible in a short period of time.


  • Trust your intuition and if the situation seems unusual or if you feel uncomfortable, walk away
  • Trust only people you know. Do not trust someone because they seem to have honest faces and pleasant personalities
  • If someone found $50.000 would he be willing to automatically give up $25.000 just as a sign of good faith? Highly unlikely
  • If legal advice or other money assistance is required, the service of a competent financial professional should be sought. Before you withdraw any sum of money at someone else’s suggestion you should call your bank, lawyer or any trusted person who could posses appropriate knowledge

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6 thoughts on “Pigeon Drop – Found Money Scam”

  1. Found your site through DP and am enjoying reading it – I’m subscribed to your RSS feed – but is there any chance of offering the full version?

  2. I would imagine you have an option to show eith a ‘full’ or ‘partial’ feed – currently you show the partial version which means only your headline and one page of text shows up in my RSS reader as opposed to the full article.

  3. It the found money is purported to be held by the government, and the person claiming to have “found” it, is not asking for any money upfront, but for a percentage of the found money only after it’s been claimed, it could be on the up and up because the government does, in fact hold money that belongs to individuals without informing them that they need to claim it if they don’t want it to eventually “escheat” to the government coffers. In the case where no “out of pocket” money is asked for, agreeing to allow the person or company to get it for you may net you money you wouldn’t have without their assistance.


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