A New London Scam

It’s amazing the type of scams that go on around the streets of London. A few years ago it was the fashion show leather jacket scam. You’d get approached on the streets by someone in a car who would explain they’d come over for a fashion show and has a leather jacket going spare, you could have it for £50 or some such price! Quite what the scam was in the end I’m not sure as I always sent them packing, but I understand that it involved them going with you to a cash point where, having handed over the money, you found yourself in possession of a worthless jacket of absolutely rubbish quality.

Well today I came across a new scam that I’ve not encountered before so I thought I’d blog about it should you  come across it.

This morning I was walking along Eastcheap, the street that runs from Monument towards the Tower of London, on my way to photograph some of the locations for our Jack the Ripper Tour.

A man walking directly in front of me stopped suddenly and I almost fell over him. He picked something up off the ground and the  held aloft a gold ring. He spoke to me in a language a didn’t understand but then, realising I was English, said “Gold” and smiled as though he was really pleased with his find.

He then said “I am from Yugoslavia,” paused and then pressed the ring into my hand saying “you have, I am single.”

I nodded and decided to do the honourable thing and take it to Bishopsgate Police Station.

At this point he followed me over the road and started pointing at my pocket saying,”you give me money.” I told him where he could ho, but he followed me down the street saying I should give him some money for the ring. I ended up telling him in no uncertain terms that that wasn’t going to happen and  that I was going to take it to the police station, whereupon he gave up and left me.

Now, this is when it gets interesting/funny.

I took it to Bishopsgate Police Station and told the desk officer that I’d just found this ring on Eastcheap. His response was “found or were given?” I explained what had happened and he laughed and said we’ve got hundreds of them! It’s a scam going on. “They ask you for a couple of quid” for something that’s just brass. He explained that if they do it a few times an hour and get £2 each time it soon adds up!

So there you have it. If you’re walking along in London and someone stops suddenly, appears to pick up a ring and then tries to give it to you, just say “No thank you” and walk on.”

Luckily, I didn’t hand over any money, but, apparently, enough people do to make it worth their while. I suppose I should have realised something was awry when he said he was from Yugoslavia!