Be aware of the three-cup scam

Published: 16 January 2020

Shoppers visiting Ilford Town Centre are being warned to be vigilant of the three-cup scam illegally being operated by street gamblers, and are warned not to participate.

The three-cup act is a scam involving several people aimed at deceiving unsuspecting victims out of their money.

The main scam artist will hide a ball under one of three cups, and then move the cups around swiftly, before asking innocent members of the public to bet on where the ball has ended up. Often the ball will have been removed to somewhere else.

Additional members from these scam groups are also placed within the crowd to bet and win, in order to encourage other members of the public to participate.

When members of the public do start betting, a sleight of hand is then used to make sure people lose their money. One unsuspecting Ilford shopper was deceived out of £200 after unknowingly participating in this scam.

Leader of the Council Cllr Jas Athwal said:

“Due to an influx in the number of three cup scammers illegally operating within Ilford Town Centre, Redbridge Council is urging people to not get sucked into this scam.

“Our message to residents and visitors to Ilford is quite simple: do not engage or get involved with the people behind this scam. You will only lose your hard-earned money. 

“We are working in partnership with the police to bring these scammers to justice, as they are in breach of Gambling Act 2005, and are prying on unsuspecting shoppers.

“Sadly, these scam events also provide opportunities for pickpockets to operate amongst the crowds.”

Redbridge Police have now created a special taskforce to tackle this issue, and members of the public can report concerns by calling 07938 -902329 daily after 2pm or via completing an online form to Redbridge Council.

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