|Spacefilling model of oxytocin. Created using ACD/ChemSketch 8.0, ACD/3D Viewer and The GIMP. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)|
And scammers know exactly what button to push to get you to believe that they needed help from you... And somehow you'll gain something from it. But you won't get anything back. Whatever help you offered is gone. That was the con.
In a "pigeon drop" con, the "mark" (intended victim) was convinced to give up an amount of money or valuable object in hopes of bigger amount of money, usually by claiming some sort of reward, time limit, and so on. A typical example goes like this... At a gas station, one guy comes up to the gas station attendant, claimed to have found this pearl necklace in the restroom, "must be worth a fortune!" Then a call comes in... the guy's wife lost the necklace there did any one see it, and he's offering a $200 reward, and he'll be there in 30 minutes. The guy offers to "sell" the necklace to the attendant for $100, because he was running late.
As you can guess, there was no reward. The attendant was out $100 bucks, and the "pearl" necklace is a plastic fake worth a few dollars at best. The attendant (i.e. the "mark") was persuaded by two things: 1) the need to "help" the guy who want the necklace back, AND 2) the need to help the guy who "found" the necklace, but had to leave for work ASAP. Neither story can be verified, and time pressure prevents any verification. The oxytocin kicked in and made you trust the two conmen because they appear to be "vulnerable".