The Torrance Police Department is cautioning residents about a scam that three victims have already been fallen prey to in recent weeks.

Police have issued a warning about a scam called a “pigeon drop” that involves multiple suspects persuading the victim or “pigeon” to give the suspects money to get a larger sum of money in return. Usually it takes place in commercial parking lots during the daytime.

Many of the scenarios include a suspect telling a victim that they’ve inherited a large sum of money and need assistance donating it to a church or philanthropic cause and that they are looking for assistance. The victim is offered a large amount of money in exchange for helping. Another scenario is when the suspect needs help cashing a winning lottery ticket because they are not a U.S. citizen.

Other times the suspect will say they’ve found a bag of money in a parking lot and are offering to split it with the victim. In all these scenarios, one suspect first approaches the victim and later a second suspect who pretends to be a stranger is willing to help. The scam can play out for hours, with the suspects tricking the victim by appearing to put money in an envelope or bag, but there is only paper in it. After victims withdraw money or obtain cash, suspects abandon them.

Most recently, the victims have been contacted by suspects in the 21700 block of Western Avenue, near 190th Street and Anza Avenue and in the 19800 block of Hawthorne. If you have any information related to these crimes, call (310) 328-3456.

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