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Kovaks Street Scam Forums • View topic - Variation of the Pigeon Poop Scam from back in the days

Variation of the Pigeon Poop Scam from back in the days

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Variation of the Pigeon Poop Scam from back in the days

Postby KOVAKS on Wed Sep 17, 2008 3:07 pm

Contributed by Philippa Brear:

Yes even as long ago as 1985 when I was travelling in Spain I fell prey to a scam in Barcelona. In an American Express office - no less...

I was checking mail, leaving a message for a friend, etc at the front counter. My bag (in retrospect very stupidly) was on the counter. Someone tapped by back. I turned around and found an innocent looking girl pointing at my back to indicate some gooey liquid on my jacket(oldest trick in the book - often adapted to backpacks, etc I found out later).

Within seconds after the girl has engaged my attention (the pigeon English helped distract me) it dawned on me that something wasn't right. By the time I turned around to the counter, a man had grabbed my bag and was making for the door. I ran after him but he ran on to the road and into heavy traffic. Not even the bag was worth my tangling with Barcelona traffic.

That was the last I saw of him.

The really important part of the story, however, was the reaction of the AmEx staff.

1. Even after I ran after the guy, nobody in the AmEx office took any action, eg grabbing his accomplice.

2. When I went back to the office, I found the staff standing around like a pack of zombies saying "Yes, they looked suspicious. They had been hanging around in here for about half an hour". It was most reassuring to know how vigilant they were.

3. AmEx took no action to assist me - even though I was using their travellers cheques and therefore was a customer. They just pointed me in the direction of the police station.

Fortunately I met a very nice Spanish woman at the police station who translated my robbery report to the police and gave me enough money to get me back to the hostel.

As it was my last day in Spain, I lost little cash. The thieves spent Australian$500 (quite a lot then) on my credit card (it was difficult to put a stop on them in those days and shops did not have online authorisation systems) but got little else of value except my address book. My major valuables were in my security pouch fortunately.

And the lesson ... don't think you're safe in an AmEx office. But maybe times have changed.
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