Tuesday, January 22, 2008

TruTV demonstrates some common ruses

On Tuesday, Jan. 22, 2008 TruTV ("Not Reality, Actuality") had two half-hour segments called "The Real Hustle" in which three young people: Apollo, Ryan, and Dannie (female) demonstrated some common scams and tricks in New York City. One of them was a three card trick ("Five Card Stud"). A couple of them were the typical distraction mechanics for pickpocketing, carried to high art. But then there was a rental scam, where they coaxed cash deposits, along with birth dates and social security numbers, as "security deposits" for below-market-rent apartments in New York. (A renovated one bedroom for $2000 in the East Village is still a steal.) In every case, the three young people inform the "victims" of the experiment, return the money, and demonstrate that they are on "candid camera." Another trick was pretending to be a security guard serving a bench warrant for failing to answer a summons, that the "mark" had never received. The "mark" gives away all her personal information to get out of the incident and go on with her lunch. Another incident involved dumpster diving to find records of corporate transactions with personal information.

They also appeared on ABC's "The View" today with Barbara Walters, in which they showed a restaurant trick to collect a credit card imprint, and then a ruse at a bank ATM using a hidden tiny camera to collect and account number and PIN, that could then draw money out of a bank account.

People who have online banking are actually safer, as long as they check their balances daily online for any unauthorized transactions.

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