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This is The Real Hustle - Celebrity Scammers.
In this series, the hustlers carry out scams that are bigger, tougher and more devious than ever before.
With the help of their celebrity friends,
hustlers Alex, Jess and
Paul pull off the riskiest scams of all.
Long cons. Intricate webs of lies and deception designed to separate the unwary from their money.
On tonight's show, TV presenter Zoe Salmon feels the pressure
as she becomes a guest hustler.
Alex tries not to blow it.
Right. You sort of jam it in.
And Jess comes over all mystical.
I just think maybe she just taps into a part of her mind
that not everyone else can.
The hustlers have invited celebrity friends to help them carry out their long cons.
They'll be thrown in at the deep end.
No training and no practise.
Just straight in to the scam.
This week's celebrity guest hustler is former Blue Peter presenter and star of Dancing On Ice, Zoe Salmon.
I have no idea what to expect.
I am 100% clueless. I know that
I'm here for a hustle. I don't have any details at all.
I've never done anything like this before and I think I could be
quite good at it. We'll have to wait and see.
Zoe has been told to wait at this bus stop.
But she's not using public transport.
Instead, she's getting a lift from Alex...
-How are you?
..who's going to give her a hustle briefing.
Right. I'm just going to pull up here.
You and I are going to go and have a look at a car that's for sale.
But we're not actually going to buy it. What we're going to do is we're going to mess with it a little bit.
-You know what this is?
This is a VIN plate. And so is this.
A VIN plate is bolted on to the frame of every car
and carries the official chassis number of the vehicle.
Now, you are going to put this fake VIN plate
over the real VIN plate of the car, whilst I distract
-the person who's selling it, OK?
So, Zoe and Alex are going to pose as a couple and view the car that's for sale.
Alex will do what he can to distract the owner,
but Zoe's going to have to cover the car's ID plates with fakes.
There's your VIN plate there.
Alex points out the ones on his own car.
There's one here.
One in the doorframe and one on the dashboard.
So you can just go over it.
But if she gets caught, this scam won't be going anywhere.
If you don't put those VIN plates on,
we can't proceed.
I got it. Speed is key as well.
-I will do it.
This is The Double Whammy.
-All right, you've got your things?
-I've got the essentials.
-So Kate, Ian.
-Kate, Ian. OK. Let's do it.
There's no turning back now.
-Let's go. Let's go buy a car.
-Let's do that. I fancy a car today.
Alex gives Zoe a camera disguised
as a phone to capture her handiwork.
Oh, hi there. I'm Ian and this is Kate.
We've come to have a look at the car.
I think it was Max, was it?
Oh, right. Would it be all right to have a quick look at it? Thank you.
What do you think? Baby seat at the back? Pram?
-Or are we not thinking that far ahead?
No, no, I think it's good. I think we should look at the boot for that.
Oh, thank you. Thanks very much.
The mark may be keeping warm inside the doorway,
but she's also keeping a very close eye on these potential buyers.
Just have a sit in.
It's going to make it tough for Zoe to carry out her task.
-How many years old?
Alex needs to keep the mark busy.
Oh, actually I'm dying for a... If I can give these to you?
Do you mind if I use your bathroom? Sorry.
He now has her attention.
Would you mind showing me? I don't want to get lost.
Can Zoe use this distraction to stick on the fake VIN plates?
WOMAN: Up the stairs. You can see it as you go to the top.
ALEX: OK and is it first door, second door?
-As you go in, you can see it as you go up the stairs.
The first plate in the doorframe is on. The mark is back at the door, keeping an eye on Zoe.
The second plate is going to be even trickier.
Can I ask you, do you know how many years your son has had the car?
Alex is still keeping the mark busy, but Zoe's going to have to be quick.
Cos I was just wondering if he's had all the log books from the very beginning or if he's had...?
I can try and contact him for you.
You can have a word.
OK, um... OK.
It's done. Zoe has successfully completed part one of the scam.
Now, they just have to make their excuses and leave.
I mean, it looks great inside.
But, you know, sometimes it's hard to tell, isn't it?
-We can't buy it today.
-But we thought we'd come and have a look.
I'll give Max a call and I can ask him all the questions.
Cheers. That's all right.
Thanks a lot. Bye. Have a nice day.
She wouldn't just... She sort of kept looking out.
You must have been very quick.
Yeah. I kept looking back. I was pretending I was feeling the dashboard.
Like, making sure it was nice quality.
-The one on the door, you did that straight away?
-Yeah, I did it instantly.
-Well done, you.
Later that day, some genuine prospective buyers turn up at the house.
This guy obviously knows his stuff and is giving the vehicle a thorough going-over.
It's essential to the scam that he doesn't discover Zoe's fake VIN plates.
After 15 minutes of careful checking, the man seems happy with the car, and they all head inside.
Looks like the owner could have a sale.
Before long, the deal is done and the new owners drive off in their vehicle.
-But they don't get very far before running into an unexpected road block.
-Stop one second, sir.
But this is no ordinary checkpoint
because these bogus Department For Transport officials
are actually Zoe and Alex.
-Yup, you're good.
They got changed into fluorescent jackets and hats as soon as the buyers went into the house.
And with their official-looking gear, they're about to ruin this couple's afternoon.
Can you step out of the car?
There's nothing to worry about.
We're from the Department For Transport.
We're the Department For Transport...
Here comes the bombshell.
You just purchased this car from a few doors down, didn't you?
We've been monitoring that place,
they have been selling cars that have not been quite legit.
So that's one gob-smacked mark stopped in his tracks.
That's coming right off.
But this scam isn't called The Double Whammy for nothing.
I will have to take your fingerprints.
When hustlers go out, they don't bring money,
they go armed with prop bets.
The customers in this bar are about to be made an offer that's hard to refuse.
Win or lose a drink over a simple wager.
-But a prop bet only has one rule.
-Do you give up?
And that's that the hustler always wins.
-To the bar!
-Drinks, please! Thank you.
Alex has made some new friends and fancies a free drink.
OK, so we're all low on drinks, so what I suggest is if you can't do this next challenge,
you guys have got to buy a round of drinks. OK?
So, we're going to use this glass and we're going to use...
It's not what you think, it's not what you think.
Right, here we go. I'm going to tie a knot into this.
Right, OK. So, here's the challenge -
you've got to use this balloon to pick up this glass.
You cannot touch the glass
and you can only hold the balloon right at the very top
where the knot is. Also, when I say lift the glass, I mean lift it.
So the bet is to lift the glass clear off the table using the balloon,
which can only be held by the very end.
-Only the top?
Only the top. You've got to pick that glass up.
I assume you do that?
Yeah, and sort of jam it in.
I really can't do it.
-I've got a couple of ideas.
-Oh, God. Here we go.
Right. Can I undo the balloon?
-Pierce the balloon in...
You're actually touching the glass now.
Very good though. I'll give you a packet of crisps or something.
-You ready for the answer?
-Otherwise, we'll be here all day.
I'm going to use something.
-Sinead's still puzzled.
-I'm really puzzled.
-Oh, my god!
-Here we go. Picking up the glass
by touching the balloon only from the end.
Oh, my god!
Now, you got to admit, that's something you don't see every day.
I'm using that. I am using that!
Here's how it works.
The lit match burns up the oxygen in the glass,
creating low pressure, which sucks in the balloon.
The two are then wedged together so tightly,
the glass can be lifted right off the table.
Drinks, please! Thank you.
This upmarket street has got a brand new resident -
a mysterious raven-haired lady who can seemingly contact the spirit world
and tell her customers intimate details of their lives.
Her name is Jess, but in spiritual circles she's known only as Madame Suzie.
This is The Phony Psychic Scam.
Madame Suzie's shop is decked out in authentic-looking spiritual gear.
All she needs now are some customers, ready to take a journey into the unknown.
-Hi, I'm Suzie.
-Let's see if Madame Suzie knows her stuff.
I was watching you when you came in. I'm going to give you a free reading.
I'm not going to charge you for it,
but if you think you've learnt something, then you can give me what you think.
-But if you've not learnt anything then you don't pay anything.
No money up front? She must be very confident about her friends in the spirit world.
Let the psychic predictions begin.
Not a bad start, but that could have been a lucky guess.
Getting an image, it's quite white.
That's not your favourite colour, then?
No. It's not a place, but it is a place. It's...
..like Alaska or something.
Somewhere very cold, but it's not the place.
It's... For some reason, the word Alaska means a lot.
-My dog's called Alaska.
-And is he white? Is he a white dog?
-That's it, the white dog Alaska.
Madame Suzie's predictions seem to be right on the money.
-Got a lot of unconditional love for you.
-He's with you now, thinking about you.
-Oh, hope so.
You've got another half. Ever heard of that cartoon, Dennis the Menace?
Yeah. Oh, my god. His nickname is Menace.
Without any prompting, Jess knows private details of this girl's life.
And she's not the only one to be amazed.
Can I have your hand, please?
I noticed... I've got a very good healing sensation from them.
It may be that you're going to be a doctor or something.
Are you studying like medicine? Or...
-Spot on once again.
I could tell by your hand straight away.
When I'm looking at you, though, it's almost like I'm on stage.
It's something that you need to do, it's like your job. You provide some sort of entertainment.
Does that make sense to you?
It's downright unnatural.
Looks like you do something quite dangerous.
That's funny, I just saw a motorbike go past then and I just... I felt something. Do you ride motorbikes?
I just got a feeling then. Did you hear that motorbike?
-She should be burnt as a witch!
-Is that accurate?
You sound very accurate. Quite shocking.
I can see a J round your neck. I think maybe you have a son or something.
Like, Joe or something?
-My son's name is Joel.
The marks are so impressed,
they're happy to pay for their psychic readings.
-Change that? £40?
-Whatever you think.
-Thank you very much for that.
-You take care of yourself.
There's no doubt, they've met someone with awesome spiritual powers.
It was weird, that's all I can say.
Sometimes you hear people saying it's a load of rubbish,
but everything I heard was like, "Wow, how did she know that?"
I just think maybe she just taps into a part of her mind that not everyone else can,
and it's just something that you're probably born with.
In fact, Jess's powers have nothing to do with spirits and crystal balls.
She actually got all her information from her customers old mobile phones. And here's how...
The hustlers have set up a mobile phone recycling service.
Donate your old handset and they'll give £50 to charity.
Though there are many honest recycling schemes, this one definitely isn't.
What the hustlers are after is data.
People don't realise quite how much information is left on an old handset.
Contact names, numbers, photos or personal text messages.
And unscrupulous hustlers can use this information for all kinds of criminal fraud.
To demonstrate the inside knowledge this gives them,
the hustlers invited the owners of some donated phones for the psychic reading.
And Jess wasn't really communicating with the spirit world.
She was getting her information from Alex who was sitting in the next room.
And she didn't have to look into the crystal ball,
just above the mark's heads, where Alex was feeding her the information on an LED display.
I think maybe you have a son or something?
I can see a J round your neck, I think that's a name.
Like Joe or something? John?
-My son's name is Joel.
It's like you do something quite dangerous? That's funny,
I just saw a motorbike go past and I felt something. Do you ride motorbikes?
-I just got a feeling, did you hear that motorbike?
Ever heard of that cartoon Dennis the Menace?
-Yeah. Oh, my god. His nickname is Menace.
Turns out this psychic is more PHONY than most.
So, everything she told me today was from... ?
Speechless. Don't know what to say. Wow, I'm shocked.
It's like identity fraud, isn't it?
Could be messages, contacts, probably my house address if I put it there.
My PIN for my bank account.
So, she's a fraud? Actually, that's out of order! You can't put anything on your phone!
New technology is leaving us increasingly open to crimes like identity theft,
and Jess' little psychic act has proven
that something as simple as a SIM card in a mobile phone
could tell someone much more than you'd like them to know.
Remember, there's a large amount of information stored on these devices,
so treat them exactly like you would your passport or your drivers licence.
If a mobile phone has just been left in a drawer,
people think that because it's not been turned on for six months,
all the data will be gone. That's not the case.
Everything that was stored will still be there -
all the contact details, call records, photographs and other data left on the phone.
If you do want to get rid of an old mobile phone,
the way to do it is to A) smash it to pieces,
which obviously isn't very environmentally friendly,
or B) factory reset the data on the phone.
It ensures that nobody will be able to use your data for nefarious means.
Hi, there. We've come to have a look at the car.
Earlier, Alex and TV presenter Zoe Salmon viewed a car for sale.
-Do you mind if I use your bathroom?
-Whilst Alex distracted the owner,
Zoe covered the car's ID plates with fakes.
Later, some real customers came and bought the car.
But the proud owners didn't get very far
because they were immediately flagged down
by two bogus Department For Transport officials
-and told their car is stolen.
-We've been monitoring that place.
They have been selling cars that have not been quite legit.
This is The Double Whammy, part two.
We'd like to have a look at this car, all right?
The mark's struggling to believe that the friendly lady he bought the car from sold him a dodgy motor.
If you come with me, I'll show you what I mean.
-He's going to need some persuading.
Yeah, that looks to me... You haven't touched this, have you?
That's where Zoe's VIN plates come in.
-Can you just check that one for me?
-It's coming right off.
-That's coming right off?
-You see, that's what happens...
Alex and Zoe peel off the fake plates in full view of the mark
who now has no doubt that the car is stolen.
And his woes are about to double because here's the rest of the Hustle team.
OK, we're good. Can you just pull in...
-I've got the footage.
-Just pull in.
-Paul and Jess have gathered some very incriminating evidence of their own.
Excuse me, sir.
Can I have you confirm that this is you on the video?
Sure enough, that's a video of the marks viewing the vehicle.
So, that's you there?
They've obviously been caught up in a major surveillance operation.
Actually, it's just something filmed by Jess and Paul who staked out the car all day,
hoping that someone would buy it.
She won't, no.
We've got someone, don't worry.
With the marks now convinced, it's time to separate them from their purchase.
Who's got the keys, the gentleman?
Zoe needs to take physical possession of the keys and the car.
If you want to get in there, we'll turn that round.
Sir, what we want to do now...
Zoe's got the car, but this scam isn't over yet.
You come with us, my colleague there has got the car.
Can you give me a moment to approach her?
I'm going to go and get the money, check it and give the money directly to you.
These marks still don't seem too convinced, so the hustlers are going to have to move fast.
Sorry about the inconvenience, but it's better than losing your money.
Paul and Jess head off to have a word with the seller.
They're going to tell the whole surveillance story all over again, but with a major twist.
Here comes The Double Whammy.
Hi, there. How are you? My name's Robert Marks.
I'm an officer from the Department For Transport.
We've been watching somebody that bought a car from you in the last 20 minutes.
We've stopped them, we believe they've passed counterfeit money.
This time round, the hustlers are saying that the buyers are the criminals.
My colleagues are bringing them in,
but I'd like to make sure that it is counterfeited, if that's OK? Just come out and check the monitor.
I want you to confirm the person that bought the vehicle.
You've just got to agree that these are the same people.
I know. They're bringing your car back right now, so don't worry.
Your car's safe, don't worry.
These are the people that came to the door,
you can confirm that?
Jess and Paul show the same footage recorded earlier.
Don't worry. You're not the first person to fall for this.
That's why we're here, so...
And once again, the black van and hi-tech equipment
make the story completely believable.
My colleague has your car there.
Across the road, Alex has pulled up with the couple sitting in his car,
and guest-hustler Zoe is sitting right behind in the confiscated vehicle. Her role isn't over yet.
At this close range, the buyers can see the seller and vice versa,
each thinking that the other is the crook.
What I'd like to do is check the cash.
I'm also going to take your fingerprints, only just to...
-Get them mixed up.
-Now for the money.
Paul needs to convince the mark that these notes are counterfeit.
Now, these ones will be real,
these ones will all be fake.
Real ones turn black, fake ones turn green. See?
Sure enough, a green line means these notes in the middle must be fakes.
Yeah, that's a real one.
You can always tell.
The ones on top turn black, so they are genuine notes.
Paul's going to have to take them all in as evidence.
This is their money, which is probably going to cost them a lot more than they think.
But how did Paul manage to make this real money look like it was mostly fake?
Easy. That wasn't a counterfeit testing pen he was using, it was just a felt tip,
and he switched the green one for a black one halfway through.
You know what? Just cos I want to be absolutely sure.
So, Zoe's in the confiscated car and Paul has the money.
The hustlers are almost done, but first, Paul wants to take the mark's fingerprints.
OK, just roll it on there once. Not too hard, just softly.
And then just here, please.
To the buyers, this looks like she's finally getting her comeuppance from the law.
But it's really to make sure she has to go inside the house.
-Do we have those wipes, to take the ink off?
-You know what, I don't.
What will she do with all that ink on her hands?
Do you want to go in and just give your hands a quick wash?
Give your hands a little wash.
With the seller out of the way, it's time for Zoe's big moment.
She has to drive off in the confiscated car.
Now for the hustlers to make their own getaways.
My colleague will take you from here, if you'd go and join him?
Alex tells the buyers that they're going to get the cash back,
they just need to walk across the road to Paul to collect it.
So one mark is inside the house,
the others are crossing the road.
Time for a quick exit.
The car, the money and the hustlers are all gone.
Leaving some very confused marks to come face to face and wonder what on earth just happened.
It quickly becomes clear their two stories don't add up.
They said the car was stolen. They pulled stickers off the car
and said this lady was part of the gang they'd been watching.
This man and woman came out and said, "There's a couple just bought a car."
-I said, "Yes, fine." And they said, "They've handed you counterfeit money."
They're rip-off merchants, they stole the car and the bloody money!
I did look at his badge and it didn't say VOSA or anything like that written on it.
So, I must admit, I was a little bit suspicious,
but when they had all the video camera stuff in the back of the car,
-you think, "Well, that's obviously genuine stuff."
So, how was it for Zoe?
Do you know what? I was actually quite impressed with how it went. We totally, totally hustled them.
I actually began to feel a bit sorry for them
because I just thought "Aw," you know,
"Just say that was my parents," and he said, "We were trying to save some money,
"if you go into a car dealership it's more expensive."
I was like, "There, there," I started to feel a bit...
This is a classic example of social compliance -
seeing a fluorescent jacket and assuming that the person wearing it is in a position of authority.
When given the opportunity to get their money back,
or their car back, they're very happy to go along with all the instructions that we give them.
The final convincer is pointing the marks out to each other, each thinking the other is the scammer.
That keeps them focused on something else, whilst the real scammers get away with the car and the cash.
Whenever you're confronted by a figure of authority,
if you think there's any doubt whatsoever, ask for their ID.
Don't be afraid to say you want to ring their office and check.
If they're genuine people, they won't mind you checking up on them.
If not, they'll back off very quickly.
Showing somebody some marks on video footage means absolutely nothing.
We've all got video cameras, we've all got phones with cameras in these days.
It's very easy to produce concocted evidence
that really needs to be challenged properly.
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