Man walks into a shop. I know, sounds like an intro to a joke except this smartly dressed, confident customer (chucks his car keys onto counter and piles up the pricey goods and scratchcards) is a con artist. He 'buys' £30-worth of scratchcards, which he pockets while Jignesh Patel (who runs Shreeji in London's Kentish Town) bags up the rest of this reasonably lucrative sale.

Oops. 'Customer' only has a pin-free cash card on him. Mistake. "Is there a hole-in-the-wall round here?" he asks. He goes off, leaving the bag on the counter and only then does Jignesh discover that the scratchcards aren't with the rest of the goods. The 'customer' chose a busy time. It was 3.30pm, the shop was full of kids, an accident had just happened outside, numerous distractions. The only clue? 'Customer' was in a hurry.

Of course Jignesh tried reporting the loss to Camelot, but is embarrassed that he will also need to report the theft to the police, even though he would like to warn others about the scam. He is wrong to be embarrassed and quite right in his desire to warn others. This type of scam comes along in 'flavours of the month', or crime 'waves', if you prefer. Once it was swarming Eastern Europeans, on another occasion it was chador-wearing 'hypnotists'.

Right now it might be smart-looking blokes in a hurry. Watch your backs.