a confidence game or sleight-of-hand swindle whereby cash is extracted from the victim as collateral for a supposed share in a large sum of discovered money, dishonest profits, or gambling winnings, which in fact are nonexistent.
Origin of pigeon drop
1935–40, Americanism; so called because such swindles orig. began with the dropping of a wallet in front of the intended victim, the pigeon
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019