In this case, it’s how the Wisconsin woman became a victim.
According to Milwaukee station WITI, the victim had been walking through a parking lot last September when another woman called out to her to ask her whether she had dropped something. Apparently, the other woman had found a wallet and was trying to locate its owner.
“It was brown and it almost looked like the size of a brick,” the victim recalled.
The two then called over a third woman to also examine the wallet. Since none of them was the original owner, they decided to go ahead and split the money.
“Well, finders keepers then, huh?” the victim told WITI.
The woman who found the wallet then claimed she worked at a real estate office — First Weber Realty — and that her boss could help them both count the money and draw up the paperwork required for them to take legal ownership of the cash.
All three then reportedly drive to the real estate office, where she went inside for a bit and then returned with shocking news.
“That there was $150,000 in cash in the wallet,” the victim recalled.
So far so good, right? Here’s where the scam started to really take hold.
The victim said that according to the woman who went inside, all three ladies would need to withdraw some cash from their bank accounts “to prove they were financially responsible,” as reported by WITI.
So they then drove to the victim’s credit union, where the victim withdraw $2,000 in cash, and returned to First Weber Realty, where the other two women went inside one at a time to apparently prove their financial responsibility to First Weber Realty’s manager.
When it was the victim’s turn, however, it began to dawn on her that something was wrong.
“Inside First Weber, no one knew what she was talking about,” reported WITI. “Meanwhile, the car and the other two women disappeared, along with her $2,000.”
She got scammed.
“The whole thing is horrendous,” she said. “I was completely, completely fooled. I just regret being a part of it.”
We likewise regret that this happened to her, though a few pertinent lessons can be gleaned from her experiences.
First: If you find money that’s not yours, always make a sincere effort to locate the owner before you apply the “finders keepers” rule.
That rules works OK for children, but for adults when there’s real money at stake, a better rule applies: “Honesty is the best policy.”
Second: Be wary of people who approach you out of nowhere with what appears to be an offer that’s too good to be true.
And last: Never, never, never give random strangers money, be it in person or on the Internet, because 9,999 out of 10,000 times, they’re trying to scam you.
Don’t give them any help.
Please share this story on Facebook and Twitter and let us know what you think about what happened to this woman and whether or not something similar has ever happened to you.
What do you think about the “finders keepers” rule?