76-year-old man swindled out $10,000 in New Jersey shopping center ‘pigeon drop’ scam

A 76-year-old construction worker was swindled out of $10,000 by two alleged grifters running a “pigeon drop scam” at Bergen Town Center in Paramus, N.J.

The victim was approached by a roughly 60-year-old man wearing a dark suit and tie who spoke with an accent. The man claimed that while in the area for a church function, he found a bag containing $185,000, according to NJ.com.

Police said that man’s alleged accomplice, roughly the same age and weighing 350 lbs., soon pretended to happen upon the pair and helped “gain the trust” of their mark.

The scammers convinced the unsuspecting septuagenarian to drive to his bank and withdraw $10,000, which would be their insurance while he held onto the much bigger bag of cash until further notice. The bag the victim was given reportedly contained only paper wrapped around what he thought were American dollars, which turned out not to be the case.

Investigators also want to speak with a woman in her early to mid-60s, whom they describe as a person of interest in the scam they say went down around in the late morning of July 13.

The pigeon drop scam is one of the oldest known grifts, and it’s not uncommon for senior citizens to be targeted. WTOP News reported earlier this month that police in Prince Georges County, Md., arrested a man they said was using the trick to target elderly people.

In April, a 71-year-old Lone Star State woman was cheated out of $25,000, according to an ABC News report from Friendswood, Texas.