Russian Dropped money/Passport Scam

by Jeff Bixby
(Tulsa OK USA)

In July I was walking down a street, middle of the afternoon. Man, friendly tries to talk to me in Russian. Fist sign something is up, because he is the first person to be friendly.

I try to ignore him because it "feels" awkward. I stop to look in a store window, hoping he will go on past. He stops and looks with me, warning sign number 2.

I continue to walk again down the side walk, my new "friend" walks beside me and rattles off something else in Russian. Suddenly a well dressed man steps out of a doorway, looks at us, turns to walk in the same direction as us and drops a clear plastic billfold, never seen one before or sense.

He continues to walk, first urge is to pick it up and go after him, but I realized I was being set up, so I just yelled at him, he ignored me, I yelled a second time loud enough that people on the sidewalk looked at him. He stopped, came back, I pointed out his money on the sidewalk.

He picked it up with a strange look on his face, and uttered what I think was a "Thank you" in Russian. I am really feeling the set up, so I stop and look in another shop window. Money dropper walks away, my new "friend" stops and looks with me and utters something in Russian.

I started walking again, toward my hotel, when a 3rd man, dressed in Jeans, casual shirt, untucked, steps out of a doorway, flashed a police badge and asks all three of us for Passports. I am pretty sure Russians don't carry their passports around, and mine is in my hotel, so I tell him. He ask to see my hotel room key.

Obviously they want me to pull my billfold out, so I just turned away and walk back toward the crowd on the sidewalk. Looked over my should and the three of them had disappeared with me just 5 steps away.

In retrospect I should have turned and walked the other direction when the first guy tried to befriend me.

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