Beware of folks carrying bags of cash, police warn regarding new scam

Man 'finds' bag of money, tries to get in car with woman.

A Renton woman was about to get in her car in the Goodwill parking lot on Northeast Sunset Boulevard Jan. 7 when a well-dressed man walked up and asked her whether this black bank bag belonged to her.

It didn’t and she started to get into her car. He then suggested that they should look inside the bag to see if there was any identification.

He unzipped the bag and pulled out a $100 bill and then opened it all the way. The bag was “bursting with money,” the woman, who is 73, told Renton police investigators, maybe several bundles of cash.

She suggested he turn in the bag to a Goodwill security officer. But the man suggested they get in his car and turn in the money at a bank nearby on Duvall Avenue. She asked to see a Bank of America badge dangling from his neck.

There was a moment of silence, then he said, “you come with me.” She suggested he call 911 on his cell. He walked off as if making a call. Then he hurried up and got into a car and drove off recklessly through the parking lot.

She called her husband, who called police.

“It sounds like the start of the old bait-and-switch scam where the suspect says they came into or found a large amount of money they want to put it in the bank, but they want the victim to put up a large amount of money to prove they are trustworthy,” said Renton Police Commander David Leibman.

But he hasn’t heard of one in which a victim is asked to take a ride in a car, he said.

“I think anyone is at risk when they enter a stranger’s car; his intent, of course, is unknown,” he said.

His suggestion is to end the contact as quickly and pleasantly as possible – and take note of the subject’s appearance and get a license-plate number. And as soon as possible, call 911.

The next day the woman went to the Bank of America branch to explain what happened and ask whether employees wear a badge on a lanyard. They wear a name tag but not a badge, she was told.

But she did learn that that on the same morning as her incident an elderly man came into the bank branch asking for an employee named “Oliver.” They had found a bag of money, maybe $10,000, in the Fred Meyer parking lot.

There’s no one named Oliver at the branch.

His story was similar, except he found the bag next to his car. A man approached, wearing a Bank of America lanyard. The man, who said he was a bank employee, took the bag and asked the elderly man to meet him at the bank next door.

It took the elderly man some time to walk to the bank and by time he got there, the man with the bag of money was gone.

More in News

A proposal by Senate Democrats would require concealed pistol license applicants in Washington state to complete a safety course. File photo
Democrats seek firearm training requirement for concealed carriers

Republican senator calls proposal ‘unconstitutional.’

Snohomish County man is first U.S. case of new coronavirus

A man in his 30s was hospitalized in Everett after contracting the virus during a trip to China.

Alexander, who attended the event with his family that are currently housed at Mary’s Place, shows off his new shoes, compared to the pair he’s had the last two years. The shoes were just one of the resources his family accessed at the United Way Family Resource Exchange on Martin Luther King Jr. Day, Jan. 20 at Lindbergh High School.
MLK’s humanity reflected in resource fair

United Way host Family Resource Exchange event

Photo courtesy of Carol Kaelson. Christel Tucker, a Renton resident and flight attendant, stands at the wheel at Wheel of Fortune. Her episode airs Monday, Jan. 20.
Rentonite spins the wheel of her dreams

Local finds herself winning thousands on Wheel of Fortune

Matt Marshall, leader of the Washington Three Percenters gun rights group, addresses a crowd rallying for Second Amendment rights Jan. 17 at the state Capitol in Olympia. Marshall condemned Republican leadership in the House of Representatives, which expelled Rep. Matt Shea from the Republican Caucus. Marshall announced his candidacy for the 2nd District seat held by House Minority Leader J.T. Wilcox. Photo by Cameron Sheppard, WNPA News Service
Gun rights advocates rally at Capitol

Criticism levied at Matt Shea investigation, Republican leadership.

Washington State Attorney General Bob Ferguson (center) announced a lawsuit against Johnson & Johnson in a press conference Jan. 2. Debbie Warfield of Everett (left) lost her son to a heroin overdose in 2012. Skagit County Commissioner Lisa Janicki (right) lost her son to an overdose of OxyContin in 2017. They are joined by Rep. Lauren Davis of Shoreline (second from right), founder of the Washington Recovery Alliance. (TVW screenshot)
AG Bob Ferguson talks lawsuits, gun control

Washington state Attorney General stopped by Sound Publishing’s Kirkland office.

Sen. Mona Das, D-Kent, the primary sponsor of SB 5323, speaking on the bill. (Photo courtesy of Hannah Sabio-Howell)
Proposed law adds a fee to plastic bags at checkout

Senate passes bill to ban single-use plastic bags, place 8-cent fee on reusable plastic bags.

In November 2019, Washington voters approved Initiative 976, which calls for $30 car tabs. Sound Publishing file photo
Republicans try to guarantee $30 car tabs amid court hangup

Lawmakers sponsor companion bills in the House and Senate.

King County Metro’s battery-electric bus. Photo courtesy of
King County could bump up Metro electrification deadlines

Transportation generates nearly half of all greenhouse gas emissions in the state.

Most Read