Real Name: Unrevealed
Location: New York City, New York
Details: Over the past fifteen years in New York City, a highly organized coin scam has taken place, with thousands of citizens falling prey to it. A man named Jerry Diner was one of the victims. While talking on a pay phone in midtown, he was approached by a man calling himself "Joe" who appeared to be drunk. He claimed that he had found a bank envelope on the ground with coins inside of it. He asked Jerry to call the doctor whose name was on the envelope to tell him that they had found his coins.
Jerry called "Dr. Stone" and told him that he and Joe had found his coins. He told Jerry to give Joe $100 because he was offering a $1000 reward for the return of his coins. Joe claimed that he could not take the coins to Dr. Stone himself. Jerry decided that he would give Joe $160 for the coins so that he could take the coins back to Dr. Stone. The two went to an ATM and Jerry gave Joe $160 in cash. After getting the money, Joe disappeared into the crowd.
Jerry then took a cab to Dr. Stone's office. While in the cab, he noticed that the coins were worth about $2000. He thought that it was strange that the reward was about half as much as the price of the coins. However, he figured that the coins also had a sentimental value to Dr. Stone. When he arrived at the address of the office, he realized that it was actually an apartment building on the Upper East Side. He spoke to the doorman, who confirmed that there was no Dr. Stone living there.
Jerry then realized that he had been scammed. It was later discovered that "Dr. Stone's" phone number was actually for a pay phone. The coin scam is not limited to New York; there have also been similar scams reported in Florida, Boston, and Baltimore. The scammers usually target people who are affluent or can easily get money from an ATM. The coins are usually not worth more than a few dollars.
Suspects: None known
Extra Notes: This segment first ran on Unsolved Mysteries in the October 11, 1989 episode.
Links: No known links.