It’s the start of a scheme that can see the victim taken for thousands of dollars and Rome police are telling elderly people to know that it could happen to them.
“We just ask that people be aware of these scams,” Rome detective Michelle Sims said. “If it sounds too good to be true it probably is.”
This specific one is called a “pigeon drop” scam and Sims said it happens once or twice a year in Rome. The victim is known as the pigeon.
Last Friday saw a Rome woman lose $6,700 in such a scam when she gave a professional looking woman the money as part of a buy-in to split a bag of money she had found that she said could contain as much as $100,000.
The suspect was described as a white female, perhaps in her late 20s, with short blonde hair, a brown mini-skirt and light colored top.
“This happens all over, and people will take them for every penny they have.” Sims said. “The victim thought she was doing what was right. She said she was caught off guard and didn’t have time to think.”
Sims said that sometimes perpetrators tell victims the money will be used to pay a lawyer for filing fees to make it legally acceptable for them to split the money.
“Don’t ever give strangers money, and call 911 if you feel intimidated or threatened by someone asking for money or credit card numbers,” Sims said.
Sims said the victim of Friday’s incident said the suspect talked very fast and seemed to know exactly what to do and why they shouldn’t involve the authorities.
The Rome police say that if a person locates any money they should call 911 and turn it into the proper authorities while they attempt to locate the owner.
If the owner is not found after 90 days the person who found the money can request a hearing with the chief of police that will determine if they can keep the money.