Does anyone know what this scam is?
Replies: 9 - Last Post: Jul 25, 2013 11:26 AM Last Post By: aguascalientes001
Jul 24, 2013 11:51 AM
Does anyone know what this scam is?When i was in bogota last week i was approached two different times by two different pairs of scammers. but i can´t fugure out what the scam was supposed to be. my best guess is that one was to distract me while the other picked my pocket or bag. but neither pair got anything from me.
the scam started with one of the pair approaching me and askin a question or two such as directions, and\or where was i from. then the other guy would approach and join in, and very shortly show his police ID, which was obviously fake. one was even wearing a pin on his coat that said police. they were all well-dressed. and operating right under the noses of the many police patrolling the interesctions.
Does anyone know if this was a pick-pocket scam, or something more creative?
Jul 24, 2013 12:04 PM
Jul 24, 2013 3:27 PM
2Fake police scams can be dangerous, 3 tourists were kidnapped and murdered by them in 2 separate incidents in Bolivia several years ago though this was exceptional and fortunately it has not been repeated. Threads on this forum about those incidents and fake cops in general probably got deleted in the purge last year.....
In Bolivia at least their usual trick was to claim to be drugs or tourist police and try and get you to take a taxi to the "police station" with them. Usually a taxi accomplice was waiting nearby and would appear right on cue to pick you up. They then either searched your bags in the taxi pretending to be looking for drugs, robbing you in the process; or drove you to ATMs and forced you to empty your bank account. One particularly sophisticated gang even had a building in the suburbs of La Paz painted up to resemble a police station! I presume the Colombians were hoping to try something similar.
The scam seems to be considerably less common in Bolivia than it used to be, its still worth knowing about though just in case.
Jul 24, 2013 4:52 PM
3When the second guy ("policeman") approaches you, the first guy ("normal person") will comply with the policeman's orders to show his ID, show his wallet etc.
In the simplest form, this is a trick to make the policeman more credible and encourage you to also comply with his requests. They then hold on to your passport, claiming some minor infringements, and demand money.
A more drastic version is that the first guy will offer something illegal (drugs etc.), and then the "policeman" will accuse you of talking to a drug dealer, and ask for a large bribe to let you free.
The most dangerous version is that this scam is done by the real police. People have ended up paying hundreds/thousands of dollars a lot to get out.
Jul 24, 2013 6:57 PM
4A fake police building? That is hilarious. Surely it would be pretty obvious to the real police where the criminals hang out. Of course someone would have to actually pay them money before they bothered doing anything about it.
The fake police scam does still exist although perhaps less frequently. I had a buddy who was victim of the fake policeman scam in La Paz earlier this year. Fake policeman stopped a taxi (no doubt in on it) and demanded to search the car and my friend for drugs. He knew exactly what was happening but figured he was getting robbed either way so no point fighting. Sure enough the fake cop pockets the cash he found while searching and leaves. This happened in the cemetery while coming back from Copacabana and he even shared the taxi with a sweet old lady - basically the classic scenario for getting robbed in La Paz. He said he thankfully didn't have any ATM cards on him, otherwise I imagine an express kidnapping would be in order.
Edited by: hazzdawg
Jul 25, 2013 4:40 AM
5#4 Of course someone would have to actually pay them money before they bothered doing anything about it.
Usually the real police are happier being paid money not to do anything, or are part of criminal groups themselves. They only do something when cases cause problems for the top brass or politicians who then need to be seen to be taking action. In the murdered Austrian couple case one of the reasons they avoided arrest for so long was that a couple of cops were tipping them off with info from the investigation; and a significant number of robberies in Bolivia (and no doubt elsewhere) seem to have police involvement. Then there was the General Sanabria case a few years ago, the head of the anti narco police who got arrested in Panama for assisting with the shipment of a lot of cocaine to the US! General rule seems to be the dodgier you are the higher up the ranks / ministries you rise......
The fake police station was in one of the poorer suburbs on the hillsides, I think in the Villa Copacabana area. Neighbourhoods in La Paz are excellent at minding their own business as long as it doesn't cause them any hassle or disturbance or donations are made to the local leadership group.
Jul 25, 2013 6:54 AM
6#4 hazzdawg The fake police station was in one of the poorer suburbs on the hillsides, I think the Villa Copacabana area. Neighbourhoods in La Paz are often excellent at minding their own business as long as it doesn't cause them any undue hassle or disturbance.....!
My original longer post appears to have been too unflattering about the police and Bolivian authorities in general for PC minded moderators!
Ah, see the original post has now appeared, apologies mods!
Edited by: jamesbrunker
Jul 25, 2013 11:16 AM
7My original longer post appears to have been too unflattering about the police and Bolivian authorities in general for PC minded moderators!
Probably it was tagged for review automatically by the forum software, because it cointained "forbidden" keywords like c0ca1ne, narc0, arre5ted, cr1mina1 :-)
Jul 25, 2013 11:25 AM
Jul 25, 2013 11:26 AM
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