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South African Switch scam continues in Waco

POSTED: Thursday, March 15, 2012 - 2:39pm
UPDATED: Friday, April 13, 2012 - 9:54am

WACO -- It's what police call the South African Switch scam, and before you know what's happening, you're handing over thousands of dollars to a person you just met in exchange for what you think is a bag full of money.

"The next thing you know, you look in the bag and it's nothing but rolled up paper," Sgt. Patrick Swanton with the Waco Police Department said.

Waco police tell us, it happens like this:

It's broad day light, you're outside, when a well-dressed black male walks up to you and begins to gain your trust.

He flashes you a bag full of what appears to be thousands of dollars and asking for your help to deposit it because he's from overseas. But he needs to know he can trust you.

"If you'll give me a thousand dollars and show me that you've got that, and that you really have a bank account and that I can trust you, then I'll give you 10,000 dollars of my 250,000 dollars here. People start thinking they can get a little something for nothing here, and it starts getting worse," Sgt. Swanton said.

Before you know it, they've left with your money and you have a bag full of nothing.

The last scam reported in Waco was on March 7th at the Genco on Valley Mills, where the victim took the scammers to a Chase Bank on New Road.

But he realized what was going on before he lost any money.

Three men were arrested in San Antonio earlier this year for their scams in Waco and San Antonio, but police don't expect any lull in the crimes despite these arrests.

So here's what you need to look for:

"Well dressed black men, 30 to 40 years of age, business suits and they've been talking with foreign accents."

Police say the only way they're be able to catch these scammers is if they're reported immediately.

"It's imperative that when this occurs, don't go home and think about it, you've got to call us immediately if we're going to have any opportunity to catch these people."

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