The $20 Change Scam
In a world of phishing and catfishing, the face-to-face grift can seem like a relic. But IRL con artistry lives on in the District, thanks to a unknown man who dupes earnest Washingtonians out of their $20 bills. After asking his marks to exchange their $20 bill for two of his $10 bills, he’ll distract them. In my case, he asked for directions to a faraway street, switched the $20 bill with a $1 bill, and claimed that I shortchanged him. Local blog reports suggest the scammer plies his trade all across downtown, an energetic criminal path that’s more remarkable for its low stakes. At a $19 profit for each grift, this ain’t Matchstick Men.