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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,
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 - when shredding goes bad.
I don't understand how somebody
got access to this information. It's shocking.
Alex meets his match.
You were so close!
And actor Ben Hull gets a dodgy ticker over a dodgy motor.
I genuinely don't think my heart could take it. It was going...
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 practice, just straight into the scam.
Today's guest hustler has appeared in The Royal, Brookside and Family Affairs,
but is best known for his starring role in Hollyoaks. Ben Hull.
Whenever I watch the show I always think, "Would I fall for something like that?" You know.
And I always think, "Yeah, yeah, I probably would!"
I hope I just don't make anybody cry.
I think I'd have a real problem with that, you know, people like, "Oh, my life savings!"
That would be really bad. Really excited. I don't know what to expect.
Ben has been told to go to a small workers' caff and to be on a lookout for a hustler.
-Hey, Ben. How are you doing?
-Good. How are you?
-I'm good. You ready?
This is what you're going to have to do.
Across the road, behind me, there's a car dealership.
Paul is going to go in in a moment, and he is going to...pretend he's working here, all right?
I want you to go across, have a look at one of the cars, pretend you're interested, ask the guys, "Oh, yeah,
"can I get a business card so I'll give you a call later?"
So Ben has to go to a car dealership across the road and persuade the manager to give him a business card.
He then needs to find Paul and secretly pass him the card in front of some potential marks.
Paul will then pretend to be the manager
and try to rope the marks into a lucrative business opportunity.
-You'll be fine. I've got great faith in you, OK?
-All right, thank you.
-All right. Cheers, good luck.
Ben only has seconds to prepare for his role in part one of The Scrap Trap.
Ben heads across the road to the dealership.
The manager is already on the forecourt.
I was wondering if I could have a bit of help.
-What is it you'd like me to do for you, sir?
-But as soon as he's free, Ben moves in.
-Are they all roughly around 15 grand?
-They are, sir.
Right. OK, yeah, because I'm...
-interested in buying.
-And there's Paul at the far end
of the forecourt, out of sight of any genuine car salesman, but keeping an eye on Ben's progress.
-Is it all right if I take a card and then give you ring?
-Yeah, of course.
Quick work. Within seconds he's holding the manager's business card.
-And your name is, sir?
-My name's Ben.
And that's Paul's cue to move in on some potential marks.
Can I help you?
He could really do with that business card.
What's your price range?
-Can I take some details?
-I'll give you a ring. I am in a bit of a hurry. I could give you a ring.
-But Ben can't get away from the manager.
He only manages to end the conversation after signing up for a test drive appointment.
That's great, thank you very much. Thank you, thank you, cheers.
But the scam is back on track.
Why don't we start at this end?
-Go down there?
-Yeah. The lower prices are down here. I mean, what sort of car is it you're looking for?
To be honest, everything we have starts around four,
-Ben heads over to the far side of the dealership.
He wants the marks to notice him, but they mustn't see the business card being passed to Paul.
We have a scrappage scheme. If your car is old enough then we can secure a certain amount
of money from the government for the car which we can add to the purchase, but it depends on the size of car.
-Yeah, that would be good.
-Sorry, hiya, have you got a minute?
-Just have a look round.
Sorry, it's just to say that...
Done. Now to sow the seeds of the scam.
My cousins...to pull out of...you know, what we were talking about.
Ben has been briefed to have a conversation with Paul
about a business deal and to make sure the marks can hear.
Do you have the money from your cousin?
-Well, yeah, I mean I do, but it's a bit...
-But you don't have his money?
OK, well, why don't you meet me at the cafe? Give me five minutes.
OK. I'm sorry, I'm still up for it, though.
-Right well, meet me at the cafe and we'll talk about it then, all right?
Sorry about that.
So Ben's cousin has dropped out of a business deal.
As he heads off, it's down to Paul to see if he can find anyone else wanting to make a quick profit.
Right, you might have actually gotten quite lucky.
We do have a scrappage scheme.
We've got these cars which we have to scrap and we're not permitted to sell those within the country.
They look intrigued.
If they make a little money today, they could afford a much nicer car.
Do me a favour, let me close out something in here,
and there's a little cafe over there called the Horseshoe.
If you go over there I'll buy you a cup of tea and explain to you.
If you want, I can double your money today, because
we have somebody who wants to buy a car but I can't sell it to them.
So if you guys want to do it, he's...
It's right there, right on the other side.
I'll be a few minutes.
The marks don't yet know what the deal with the scrapped car involves.
Just that it could lead to them doubling their two grand.
They happily cross the road to the caff to find out more.
The marks are dutifully waiting for Paul, thinking this could be their lucky day.
-There's the crucial convincer.
The genuine manager's business card that Ben got hold of and passed to Paul.
How are you?
Basically we're not allowed to sell cars coming in from the scrappage scheme.
We take a car which the government gives us two grand for,
it's actually worth five, six thousand, and we take it out of the country, it's worth a lot more.
So Paul has some cars that have been traded in under the government scrappage scheme.
By law, they have to be taken off the road and destroyed.
But some of the more desirable cars will still fetch good money on the black market in Eastern Europe.
And Paul's friend Alex happens to specialise in exporting just such cars.
But the car dealer and the exporter can't be seen doing business together.
That would be illegal.
So the girls will act as go-betweens, buying an old car
as scrap for two grand from Paul, and then immediately selling it on to Alex for four.
There's nothing illegal about this. He's going to ship it
out of the country and it never touches the scrappage scheme.
-In the business, everybody's doing it.
Here's the other person who'll be acting as a go-between today.
-This is Ben.
-Ben, who's been waiting at the back of the caff to join the conversation.
Do you have £2,000?
Very simple. Far end of the car park is where we'll just drive the cars to, we'll give you the money.
His people will then drive them away, it's as simple as that.
I've done it a few times before - it's just a no-brainer, really.
Are you up for it?
The marks agree to come back later in the afternoon to take part in the business deal.
It does, doesn't it?
After all, they'd be mad to walk away from this amazing opportunity. Wouldn't they?
-So where's the other car?
-Here. I can have somebody else come here if you want.
Can I have the money?
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. Thanks a lot.
Alex is out on the town but doesn't want to buy any drinks himself.
All you need for this one is an empty matchbox, and you have to set the matchbox like this.
Now, you have to get the matchbox from this position
into this position,
but you can't touch it with your hands.
You can't touch it with your hands?
You can touch it, but you're only allowed
to touch the top bit, you can't touch the bottom bit with anything.
So to avoid buying Alex a drink, these guys need to turn the matchbox and tray the other way up.
The tray needs to end up on top, but cannot be touched at any point.
How are you going to do it?
Yeah, that's interesting.
Wasn't she quite interesting to watch?
-Yeah, OK, so you were hoping to sort of hook that there and then flip it over?
-Shall I show you how it's done?
Cos the beginning part was almost right.
-All right? OK, here we go.
There you go, done.
I'm touching it now because I have to put it back on the table.
-I thought you were almost going to do that.
-You were so close.
-You were so close.
Alex puts the end of the matchbox in his mouth and breathes in.
The suction keeps the tray underneath firmly attached.
He then straightens up which inverts the T shape, bringing the tray to the top.
Cheers. I'll have one of these.
The residents of this quiet neighbourhood have no idea
that two hustlers are patrolling their streets.
Paul and Jess are out looking for some security-minded marks to target in The Shred.
Oh, no, are we there yet?
They pull up on a residential road.
Try a couple of these.
Yeah. That beige one there?
-I'll chill out for a while.
If the people in these houses are the security-conscious type,
they should be interested in what PR girl Jess is about to offer.
Hello, how are you?
Good, thank you. My name's Suzie and I'm working for
TRH Marketing, and we are promoting the new diamond-cut shredder today in order to try and crack down on
the identity theft that's been going on, and unfortunately in this area it has been rising.
This poor guy is hardly getting a word in edgeways.
So if you're willing, we'd love to give you of our shredders for
maybe about an hour so you can destroy any unwanted documents, credit card slips, utility bills.
He looks a little unsure.
It's not every day that a charming young lady knocks on your door.
If you do that and fill in our survey,
we'll give you a shredder.
Thank you very much. Do you want to wait there, I'll just go and get the techy guy to put it in for you.
The offer has come a little out of the blue, but what has the mark got to lose?
He gets to try out a prototype shredder, and after filling in
some market research forms, he'll get one of his own to keep for free.
-He would love a shredder.
-Very nice man.
-Do you want me to do all the heavy work?
-You do all the heavy work.
Technician Paul retrieves the shredder and takes it to the house to set it up.
-How you doing?
-One socket there.
Paul gets to work unpacking and setting up the machine, as well as leaving behind a hidden camera.
The best ones need to be this big, to be honest with you.
It is a cross- and diamond-cut shredder, so this one's been used by a lot of people.
So let me just...
-Any old utility bills, credit card slips, anything like that that you'd normally throw away.
-If you'd just like to shred them for us.
-We'll leave it with you for a little while.
Thank you very much. We'll be back in about an hour.
-We're going to do a couple more houses and then pick it up.
The hustlers leave the mark to try out their prototype shredder.
With an hour to kill and a van full of shredders,
they head off to see if they can find some more volunteers.
In the house, the hidden camera captures the home owners shredding their confidential documents.
Older shredders just cut documents into long strips,
allowing any criminal with enough patience and sticky tape to put them back together.
But this diamond-cut model is really making mincemeat out of the mark's paperwork.
Even the most patient hustler in the world couldn't stick this lot back together.
-A little later, Paul and Jess return
as promised, to see how the mark got on with his free trial.
Hello. Did you have a good time shredding?
Yeah? Are you all done? Fabulous.
It's quite cathartic, isn't it?
Take out some tension.
-If I could get you fill in this survey.
-As the resident fills out
the market research forms, handyman Paul puts the goods back in the van.
-Jess leaves with the promise of sending them a brand new machine.
Though there's not a shred of a chance it'll ever arrive.
-OK, who's next?
-Which is a shame, because that shredder is actually worth a fair bit in the shops.
But in the hands of hustlers, it's worth a fortune.
I help my mum out in her office cos she's got her own small business
so I do all the shredding of the sort of important documents, so there's nothing to worry about,
no-one's going to be able to put them back together.
It's completely gone now.
Well, not completely gone.
We hand the mark an envelope containing exact copies of the documents he's just destroyed.
I don't understand.
One of them I recognise as my bank statement.
So I'm not quite sure how you got that.
I didn't think that actually that this was possible.
I don't understand how somebody could have got access to this information, especially via
a shredder - you know, the thing that's supposed to get rid of this information.
It's quite shocking, really.
Many people these days are worried about their personal information, and if they're not, they should be.
So this shredder over here seems like a very good idea.
The only problem with this shredder, of course, is that it has been supplied to them by hustlers.
Inside this shredder, you've got two of these.
This is a miniature portable scanner designed to copy documents on the go.
It's small enough to be fitted inside the head of the shredder.
There's actually one on each side of the paper slot, so just before
a document goes through the shredder's teeth,
the scanners store the image of both sides of the paper.
All we need to do is connect our PC to the shredder when we get it back
and we've got an identical copy to whatever has been shredded.
Of course, something like this is more likely to be used in espionage than identify theft,
but there's a very similar programme on the internet that
could be downloaded onto your computer without you knowing.
It's called shredder software, and it pretends to completely
clean your drive of sensitive files, but the malware version actually sends those files to a third party.
So whether you're getting rid of documents or files on your computer, be as careful as you can.
And with paper documents, my advice would be to burn them.
Hiya, have you got a minute? Sorry.
Earlier today, actor Ben Hull helped Paul rope in these marks.
We've got these cars here which we have to scrap. We're not permitted to sell those within the country.
They've agreed to buy a car that's been taken off the road, under the government scrappage scheme,
buying from car dealer Paul and selling to vehicle exporter Alex...
He's going to ship it out of the country and it never touches the scrappage scheme.
..doubling their money in the process.
-Sounds too good to be true.
In The Scrap Trap Part 2.
It's been a few hours since the meeting.
Alex, Paul and Ben arrive in a car park ready to make the deal.
And there's one of the scrappage cars that was parked outside the dealership earlier on.
-It's still valid.
-The car's fine.
Here come the girls.
Tony had a look at it, perfectly happy.
So happy you came, you saved my life.
Just let me know because if I don't know about it...
Do you want to meet these girls? These are the girls that came to the...
-Can I just finish with this first? Hi.
Alex and Ben pretend to be having a conversation about the deal,
but make sure the marks see his three grand fee being handed over.
Three grand we said, yeah?
OK. Actually, I had something for you.
Now just hold on to that.
So where's the other car? Hi.
We're going to go and get it. This is Helena, this is Dasha.
Hi. Have you got the car here?
Yeah, they're going to come over and get the car and then they're going to
-drive it over to you.
-All right, cool.
The girls still need to go to the dealership to pick up their scrap car and drive it around.
-You're giving them four.
-4,000 we said, yeah?
But in the meantime Alex shows them what they stand to earn - £4,000.
Put it in the bag for you cos I don't like sort of being out in the open.
Now let me just put this lock on.
This is it. Time for Ben's toughest challenge because the hustlers have
no intention of actually handing over all that money.
Ben's job is to make a secret switch.
He has to pull over a piece of black cloth covering the bag,
and revealing an identical one underneath.
-So that means that that is then handed over back to them, and this contains nothing but paper.
The first contains four grand.
The other is completely worthless.
He only had moments to practise the move before the girls arrived.
Well, just look ahead.
Or just look at where you're going.
There you go, that would work.
-So I've got to ask you - are you nervous?
-Yes, I am.
As long as there's only one bag in the car when they look, we're OK.
-If two appear, we have a problem.
We're back in the scam.
-Have you got the paperwork?
-Ben knows it's now or never.
Everything depends on him getting away with the switch.
Let's have a look. There you go.
-Yeah, that all seems fine.
-He's done it, and nobody noticed.
I'll give you the money, that's fine. Here.
The hustlers want to encourage the marks to go through with the deal,
-and give them their bag of cash before they've even paid Paul for the car.
-You take the four.
Of course, this bag contains no real money.
But then, disaster.
One of the marks isn't happy about the lock on the bag, and wants to see the money again.
There's only one thing Alex can do.
And that's to perform another switch and get the real money bag.
It's all right - you're concerned. That's OK.
The marks can clearly see that the money is genuine.
Now Alex needs to hide this bag again but has to be extremely careful about his timing.
You can either give me the money for the car
or you can walk away.
I can have somebody else come here if you want.
-I don't know, but look...
-Doing a switch once is risky enough.
Attempting the same move three times in a row is practically asking to be caught.
-I've got the...
-What do you think - do you want to do it or not?
-Can they have the money?
-Yeah, you hold on to the money.
-He's got away with it - again.
The reassured marks get their payments from Alex and hand Paul their very real £2,000.
-Come on, let's get the car. We'll be right back.
-I just need the keys and the car.
Paul gives the girls the keys to the scrap car they've bought.
Now they just have to pick it up and drive it round to Alex to complete the transaction.
Well, actually, to be honest, if you want to do it again it's
a possibility because he is furious that this guy didn't turn up today.
But as soon as they're out of sight, Alex makes a sharp exit, followed closely behind by Ben,
who drives away from the scene of the scam in that borrowed BMW.
So how will the final hustler make his getaway?
If we go to the back here.
-Three cars back is the car, it's the only Mercedes there.
-I'm going to put the cash into the safe.
All right? And pick me up here.
All right, it's just over there and to the back. You've got the keys.
Paul points the marks down the road where their scrap car is parked,
and they head off with their bag of money and a car key.
Of course, Paul's got no intention of going back into the dealership.
He gets a lift with Alex, and along with the marks' £2,000, they're gone.
It doesn't take the marks long to realise that there is no Mercedes waiting for them to pick up.
And there's no sign of Paul either.
Eventually they catch up with the real manager, whose business card they've still got.
He's got no idea what they're on about.
They're left trying to work out what just happened.
The only way he could buy the car is if you buy it first and then...
Drop it off to him and double your money.
He gives us £4,000 and
they get back two.
We did see the money. I saw the money, you saw the money.
Never go and just somebody who you don't know trying to sort of give you...
It is sort of unbelievable and it can't be true.
Yeah, basically, you have to think if it sounds too good to be true then probably it isn't true, right?
So if the manager was fake and the money was fake, what about that scrap car that Ben was driving?
After all, the marks saw it parked by the forecourt earlier in the day.
Of course, that was all fake too.
Knowing they would need a ten-year old car as a convincer, the hustlers started
this scam several days earlier, by offering a cheap MOT service with a free home pick-up and drop-off.
With an offer as convenient as this, it didn't take long for someone with a suitable car to take the bait.
So, on the morning of the scam, Alex dressed in engineer's overalls and went to pick up the vehicle.
That's the one, yeah? All right, cheers, thanks.
He parked it right next to the dealership forecourt, and once a printed note was
placed behind the windscreen, the scene was set and the scam was on.
And Alex was as good as his word and returned it later that evening.
Unfortunately for the owner, it hadn't been MOT'd as promised, and he had no idea that his vehicle
had just been used in a criminal enterprise.
Er, well, I just felt very sorry for them. They were wily though, weren't they?
They asked to see the money again...
You know, so they weren't sort of going to stand for any tomfoolery.
The guys are just absolutely phenomenal.
I genuinely don't think my heart could take it, genuinely.
I mean, just even getting the card and being involved in the car park
was kind of like a race horse, unbelievable. No, not for me.
Con artists are experts at using common knowledge as the basis of a good scam.
In this case, the car scrappage scheme is the reason why the bogus car dealer had to use an intermediary
to transfer some cars to somebody else.
Now, this isn't the first time this kind of thing has happened.
Throughout history there have been many scams.
For example, one of the most famous was in the 1920s when
Count Victor Lustig, who is actually one of history's most famous con men,
used the international demand for scrap metal to sell the Eiffel Tower to several people.
Any scheme where you're promised a large return for a small investment is usually too good to be true.
If you're ever asked to pay money up front for something, then it usually
isn't the real deal and you should just turn around and walk away.
The motor trade's a well-established and fairly sophisticated business.
They don't require people they don't know to come along and support and help them.
Don't part with your money under these circumstances - you're going to get conned.
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