My friend Heinrich passed along this helpful warning from the Emory University PD. Hard to imagine anyone, let alone an Emory student, being so easily duped, but apparently it happens. Expulsion should be in order for those scammed:
I am writing to be sure you are aware of a type of scam called the "Pigeon Drop". The "Pigeon Drop" fraud suspects usually come to Emory within the first few months of the school year. The suspects approach international students or scholars in areas close to campus, such as Emory Village. If you are approached you should go to a safe location, such as a nearby business, and call the police.
Characteristics of a "Pigeon Drop"
The fraud will involve a group of three to four suspects.
One suspect will approach a student and pretend to have found a large amount of cash. In most cases there will be something that indicates that the cash is from illegal gambling, narcotics or some other unlawful activity. This leads the victim to believe that the owner cannot come forward to claim the money.
The other suspects will join the conversation and pretend not to know the first suspect. One of the new arrivals will inform the student that the money should be deposited at a bank. The suspects say that bank will retain the cash, contact the police, and eventually divide the money among the finders if it is not claimed.
The suspects will inform the student that each of the finders must make a "good faith" cash deposit at the bank to be eligible to receive their share of the unclaimed money. The requests for a deposit have run from $1,000 to $4,000. The suspects will take the student to his or her bank to withdraw cash.
One of the suspects will tell the student that they want to deposit the cash at another bank, because they happen to know one of the employees. In a few cases the suspects said that they wanted to stop and consult with an attorney they know who just happens to have an office nearby. After arriving at the second bank or the building that has the attorney’s office, the suspects will abandon the student and leave with all of the money.