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Change swapping scam

Posted on 2003-03-23
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What is the best change swapping scam you have heard and why does it work?  I was getting a coffee the other day from Starbucks and the clerk was commenting about how the morning coffee girl was taken for 50 bucks, by some variation of the short change scam.  

I was wondering why people fall for this and wanted to see examples of how it is played out.  For a reference to what I am talking about, check this http://fraudtech.bizland.com/short_change.htm. 20 Points goes to the best description.

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Question by:integer
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25 Comments
 
LVL 4

Expert Comment

by:esmogen
ID: 8190957
You want to get rich on 20 points? lol
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Author Comment

by:integer
ID: 8190977
Nope, just curious how it works.  

Mathematically, to lose 50 dollars there would need to be a few iterations of back-and forth. It seems like the scam would need to be really clever or the victim would need to be really, really dumb.  
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by:integer
ID: 8190981
http://fraudtech.bizland.com/short_change.htm The other link had a period on the end and failed, use this one.
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LVL 101

Expert Comment

by:mlmcc
ID: 8192475
Not really.  Just start with a $20 or even a $50 and work the same scam.

mlmcc
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LVL 5

Expert Comment

by:jpkemp
ID: 8193034
Instead of $10 and $1 bills, play it with $50 and 10 x $5 bills.

Jeff
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LVL 13

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by:Philip Pinnell
ID: 8194270
HTTP 404 - File not found
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LVL 13

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by:Philip Pinnell
ID: 8194296
Sorry. I should read ahead a bit.
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LVL 11

Expert Comment

by:dimitry
ID: 8194331
Consider this as the situation with 2 threads that access
"in parallel" some global variable. :)

int gv = 0;

thread1() { gv += 10; }
thread2() { gv += 10; }

The result after running two threads can be 10 or 20.
It depends on the preemption point.

Same in swapping scam. If cashier makes all transactions
one after another he will be Ok, but if he allows preemption then he can be fooled.
:)
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LVL 24

Expert Comment

by:SunBow
ID: 8196902
Collect coins.
Buy/trade for buckets of quarters. Check them for rarity (it helps if source was meter maid).
Take the common quarters, and make rolls, wrapping them in paper for convenience of exchange. Before roll is sealed, replace five quarters with nickles. That gives you 5*(25-5) difference, a dollar a roll.
Visit bank periodically and exchange 20 rolls for the green stuff, getting an extra double-sawbuck to reimburse your efforts. Five visits gets you a hundred.

True story, I'd buy rolls of quarters for laundromat, and darn it if the bank didn't give me such rolls. Once is an understandable glitch. When it repeated I queried the bank that something must be wrong with this. I tried to show them some rolls that even had some stamps for ID & tracking. They were not in the slightest interested. I quit buying rolls of quarters from them.
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by:integer
ID: 8197098
dimitry, thats good a program to do it.  Now if we can build a robot that walks around the mall doing this we might have something here..
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LVL 5

Expert Comment

by:rrhunt28
ID: 8197149
The easiest way to do a scam like that is simply go to a busy place that you know will have a few high bills on hand, wait untill it is busy, then go in to buy something, pay with a 20, or 50, then take your change, put it away in your pocket, then pull it back out to count, and go "hey buddy my change is wrong".  The clerk will go "what did i give you" hold it up for him to count, then insist that you gave im a 100.  He will open the draw, if you have picked the right spot, he will see a few 100's laying there and go think about it.  If he is busy, and you throw enough of a convencing fit, half the time they will give you the money back.  

I used to work in a convenant store, and I have seen that happen.
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by:rrhunt28
ID: 8197162
Another way to make a few bucks is to go into a place and buy somethign with a 20, then after that transaction is done, go "oh i forgot i need chage, can you give me back the 10 in fives"  Then when he does that you go thank you man, and leave, he forgets that he did not get the 10 from you, because you just handed him a 20 from buying something.
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LVL 3

Expert Comment

by:leojl
ID: 8216873

Old movie...I think name
Only A Paper Moon

very clever scam

leo
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LVL 18

Expert Comment

by:deighton
ID: 8218123
the site about scams is an incredibly racist, don'y you think?
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by:jpkemp
ID: 8221672
Why do you say that deighton?
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LVL 3

Expert Comment

by:leojl
ID: 8221929

not at all racist ... some peoples do just
steal and rob ... why bother with scam.
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LVL 8

Expert Comment

by:tncbbthositg
ID: 8258470
A was working at Applebees during my unemployed period and I got scammed (but I got even).  A guy came up to me in the middle of rush.  He handed me a 20 and asked if I could give him two 10s so he could put them in his daughters birthday card.  I gave him two 10s.  He came back to me with 2 fives and said "you only gave me two fives."  I took the two fives and gave him 2 tens.  Thus, I handed him 40 dollars and he gave me 30 dollars.  He only made 10 dollars off of it but I was displeased!
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Accepted Solution

by:
varindotorg earned 60 total points
ID: 8270636
I had a guy try and do something similar to this to me once back when I worked at a video game store in college.  Luckily, I had watched a special on tv the night before on scam artists and this was one of the scams that was showcased.  I'll admit the guy was persistent and he did finally start to confuse me (the student who took extra calculus classes for fun)

Here's what he did(I'll round up to even dollars to make it easy):

He waited until the register line is long so people will be irritated and in a hurry to get out of the store.  This is the best time he could try to confuse the cashier because they are trying to move quickly to get people out of the line.  

He picked a game that cost 11 dollars.  He paid with a 20.  When I handed him his 9 dollars, he claimed he didn't want any of the small bills.  So he asks for the original 20 he handed me back.  I think at this point he was hoping that I was stupid enough to hand him the 20 without getting his change back from him.  He could say "forget it" and walk away at that point with 9 dollars more than he started with if I had fallen for it.

After I got the 9 dollars back and handed him just the 20 dollar bill, he tries to start over and pay with 30 (a 20 and two 5's).  When I still hand him a bunch of bills (a ten and 9 dollars) he puts it in his wallet and starts to act perturbed, again playing on my desire to not anger the other people in line waiting.  

I was on to what he was doing at this point so I just let him continue.  He asks for his money back so he can try again (remember he already has his change put away in his wallet).  When I ask for his change back out of his wallet, he gets angry because I'm asking for more money and he already paid for the game.  I took the game back, told the guy I was working with to call security and just kicked him out at this point.  He left without complaining about not getting the game so he knew that he was caught and just cut his losses.

He obviously was hoping that I could be easily confused and taken for a sucker.  
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Expert Comment

by:higginspi
ID: 8272068
I went to a gas station that was constantly trying to cheat me out of a $1 bill.  I know the girl knew what she was doing because she never even hesitated to give me back the $1 when I would complain about it (right away, before walking away or putting my money up). The second time she did it I knew she was trying to scam. I got fed up the 3rd time when a totally different person did it, and I've never been back. After I got my $1 back before putting away my money, I did make the comment, "This is my 3rd visit to this gas station and the third time the cashier has tried to con me out of $1.  I won't be back."  There were about 5 other customers in line, too.

I guess I should have called the manager (or maybe corporate office?  It was a national chain), but it wasn't worth the time and effort for me.  
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LVL 5

Expert Comment

by:rrhunt28
ID: 8272095
I used to short people on accedent from time to time.  But that was rare.
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Expert Comment

by:leojl
ID: 8274333


there was a burger place in Pacific Beach
San Diego that always tried to short change.

if you said, hey this is not correct they
would just open the till and give correct amount.

it seemed to be all of the workers including the
management that did try to short change.

there are several burger places in Pacific Beach.
I will not say the name here, but I will say
it was one king of a place.
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LVL 1

Expert Comment

by:Jazzle
ID: 8291588
i know this goes against the current grain - but...
here in the UK money, paper notes [bills] and coins, are easily distinguishable (even by the blind) - for example the notes have different colours - not plain green - and are different sizes.

but you could try this: (it _can_ take about a month to actualy be in profit though)

get some cash (lots of notes) from an ATM - but when the money comes out, hold all but the top and bottom notes, but don't pull.  the macine will eventually assume you're not going to take the money and will try to suck it back in.  when it does it will only take the top and bottom notes, but it'll think it has all of it. your card will be returned and your account refunded (can take a while for this to happen) and you walk off with the cash.
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by:jpkemp
ID: 8296046
Jazzle - only one problem with your scam: the ATM records the fact that your account was refunded due to non-retrieval of the cash. When the money in the ATM is counted and found to be short, they're gonna look at the records and put two and two together. You might find some big guys in black knocking on your door asking pertinent questions.

Jeff
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LVL 2

Author Comment

by:integer
ID: 8296079
Jeff/Jazzle,

I was thinking the same thing.  Even if you got away with it, you would only be able to do it once or twice.  Plus the ATM withdraw limit makes the risk/reward way to high for any intellegent criminal to consider.  

It does seem like something a crook could do once and lie their way out of.  I guess they would have to be really carefull what they exposed to that camera.

Definately not worth it.

Integer
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LVL 3

Expert Comment

by:leojl
ID: 8297742

we had a recent case here in the usa where someone
made an atm deposit for $5 or $10 to his bank account.
But he wrote $30000 on the deposit slip. Next day he
went to the atm and discovered he had $30000 in his
account. so he started to take out the atm max each day
for many days. the bank finally discovered the error
and I think the person who took the money went to
prison for the crime.
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