Police issuing warning about quick change artists scam

MOUNT FOREST – The definition of a scammer is a person who swindles you by means of deception or fraud.


On July 18 at about 4:50pm County of Wellington OPP officers responded to a busi­ness in Mount Forest for a reported theft.

The victim reported that at about 4:25pm two women attended to the business and made a small purchase. They then wanted to exchange some larger $50 bills to smaller $5 ones, then they changed their mind, etc. After all was done, the suspects left and the clerk was short about $100.

The suspects are described as look­ing Middle Eastern, wearing skirts with light tops. Both are described as having some gold teeth.

How the scams work

OPP Constable Mark Cloes said typically two people will work the scam together and they may have help. Be wary of people distracting a worker and customers near the cash reg­ister by asking questions while the main con artist pulls the scam.

He added clerks should be cautious about customers who pay for small items with large denominations. The typical quick change con artist pays for a low-cost item with a $50 or $100 bill and asks for change. Many businesses avoid that scam by only accepting deno­mi­nations of $20 or lower.

He suggested clerks try to stay focused when giving change to customers. The con artist will try to confuse them by telling them that they want the change in a different way or that they changed their mind and want to pay with a smaller bill instead.

That usually comes after the clerk has handed them the change for the initial payment. They will try to confuse the cashier by keeping more money than was paid, and then walking out with it. Do not give back the money, until they hand over the change you gave. Count it all before returning their bills.

Cloes added that no matter how many times the con artist changes his mind, focus on coll­ecting the customer’s mon­ey and making correct change. Keep the bill he gives you on the register in front of you. If a co-worker is not busy, signal her to stand near the register while you deal with the cus­tomer.

Cloes concluded those types of scams increase over the summer when busi­nesses have more senior staff on vacation.

“If you feel you have become a victim of this type of scam, contact your local police,” he said.