Quick Change artist on the loose; We find out how the scam works

Local News

MOBILE, Ala. (WKRG) — We see lots of crime stories, robberies, shootings, and police chases among them.  But police recently put out an alert about a crime we never hear about.  

It’s called the ‘quick-change,’ or ‘change-raising’ scam.  The scam is designed to confuse a store clerk or banker into giving up more change in a transaction. It takes a smooth talker to do it.

“A lot of it is the gift of being able to talk, say the right things–I’m absent-minded today, I’m so sorry, I made a mistake,” says retired police officer Bruce Walstad.

Walstad is an expert on fraud and con games and this is a scam he knows well.  

How prevalent is it?

“We don’t know,” he says. “That’s because so much of it is unreported.

That’s because the scammers usually only get a few dollars at a time. If a store clerk or manager discovers the shortage, the may just shrug it off. If they think they’ve been conned and call the police, the scammer simply shrugs it off as a mistake.

But there are cases where the scammer gets away with more than a few dollars.

“We’ve had cases that I’ve personally investigated where it was $150-$180 dollars missing,” said Walstad.

Those good at the scam can hit multiple stores in a day. In fact, police across the country have posted surveillance video where the scams have taken place, including a convenience store where $220 was stolen; and a Walmart in Albuquerque where scammers made off with $2100.

Watch the story, where Bruce Walstad shows us how the scam works.

Plus, there are many other scams he showed us, including these:

The Pigeon Drop

The Coin Roll Scam

The Valuable Coin Scam


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