How to steal lottery tickets

The lottery ticket scam

Okay, so in New York City, a clever scammer has figured out a way to scam retailers out of lottery tickets with a sleight-of-hand trick. In con-man lingo, this kind of deception is called a short con.

Here's how you do it.

Walk into a convenience or liquor store.

Ask for a large number of lottery tickets. Make sure you're a friendly kind of guy.

After receiving the tickets, but before paying for them, say:

"Oh, do you have a rubber band or an envelope or something I can put these in?"

While the clerk is distracted, switch the unused stack of tickets for a used stack of tickets with a real ticket on top.

Put the real tickets in your pocket.

When the clerk looks at the stack of tickets, it looks the same.

Then you say:

"Crap! I must have left my wallet in my car. Hold these for me. I'll be right back!"

You leave, but you never return.

Eventually the clerk looks at the stack of tickets, and discovers... That bastard! I've been had!

The scratch-off tickets can be worth as much as $20 each, so if you pretend to buy a stack of tickets, you can make a pretty good score. One deli got ripped off for $800.

But here's what I don't quite get: these are lottery tickets. It's not money you're stealing. You might get nothing at all. So you're risking a lot to get potentially nothing.

Lottery officials say they don't reimburse theft. But lottery vendors are all hooked up with computerized terminals, and aren't tickets numbered or marked in some way, so the stores could refuse to pay out on tickets that are stolen?

And wouldn't that be a deterrent for a crafty con-man like you? Wouldn't that be like a bank robber stealing marked bills from a bank?

Probably what's happening is that the con-man who steals the tickets then sells them at a reduced rate to others hoping to win:

"I've got real $20 lottery tickets for sale, only $10."

So make sure you have friends who are thinking more about winning the lottery than thinking about getting caught.

That's a much better scam than scratching off a stack of tickets yourself, right?

But is that true? Are the odds better for selling the tickets for a guaranteed $10, or for you the con-man scratching and redeeming the tickets yourself?

Source: NACS Online, New York Post>>

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