Overly trusting residents are being advised by the San Francisco Police Department to be aware of an ongoing series of scams in which suspects trick unsuspecting victims into giving them money.
Two suspects in these scams have been described as black men between 40 and 65 years of age. Both typically dressed in slacks and a jacket, according to police.
In most instances, police said, one of the suspects had an accent and claimed to be from South Africa.
According to police, the scam begins when a man approaches a victim. He asks for directions and convinces the victim to guide him there.
However, while en route, the man tells the victim about a large inheritance he has which needs to be donated. He asks his new friend, the victim, to help him distribute these alleged charitable donations.
Then a second man is introduced to the victim, with the intention of making the victim feel more comfortable, police said.
The two men then convince the victim to help them distribute the inheritance but say they need “good faith” money in order to prove that the victim is trustworthy and won’t steal the money.
Both men place a large roll, of what appears to be cash, into an allegedly sacred piece of cloth and then one of the suspects takes it away.
The other suspect, police said, goes with the victim and to the bank so the victim can withdraw “good faith” money.
The suspect waits outside the bank and when the victim returns, he takes the victim’s cash and one of his own supposed money rolls and appears to wrap them in the allegedly sacred cloth before placing it in the trunk of the victim’s car.
The suspect then instructs the victim to drive around the block to prove their trust and instructs the victim not to look at the cash right away.
Later, when the victim looks in the trunk, they discover that they are left with rolled up newspaper wrapped in a bandana and that the suspects have fled the area.
The San Francisco Police Department is urging the public to use caution when approached by strangers under these described circumstances and to avoid speaking with, or giving money to, strangers who offer good fortune, unusual offers, or a deal too good to be true.
Anyone who is approached by suspects with similar inquiries should call 911, police said.