Being huge fans of David Mamet's House of Games and other great con stories (have you seen Eddie Izzard in The Riches yet? Great stuff) we've been following the Blue Peter grift very carefully. It's a classic con that we think scam artists the world over will copy and make their own. The beauty is in the simplicity of the long con.
All you need is to create a popular children's television show and let it lull the viewer's into a false sense of security for almost 50 years and then spring the trap by dropping a premium rate telephone competition into the format.
Viewers had been invited to call a premium rate number and leave their details for a chance to win a toy. Nearly 14,000 calls were made. However, a "technical failure" meant the show's producers were unable to get access to the names.
Here's how the technical failure probably went down:
Harty Hick (wannabe grifter): Shouldn't we answer that phone?
Lefty Dillon (master grifter): Idiot! The whole point is that we DON'T answer the phone. Now quit yer jawin' and grab me a buffer.
The buffer in this case was a young girl who'd already been pre-soaked with prizes so had no problem in faking a live phone call in which she 'won'.
The gang would have got away with it too if it hadn't been for a
double, treble, quadruple cross in the closing moments of the scam that left all concerned riddled with small blue badges.