Carl Talton allegedly approached the victims, many of whom were elderly, in public places, including grocery stores and shopping centers.
He allegedly told the victims a story about receiving a large amount of cash from a friend, family member, or well-known organization, and convinced the victims that he needed their help to find a cause where he could donate the money, police said.
The victims were asked to temporarily contribute to the fund as a show of trust and were often shown a large bundle of money, according to police.
He allegedly stole the money while the victims were distracted.
Talton allegedly worked with another man in most instances and police believe he has scammed victims out of about $40,000 in total.
Talton is described as a 70-year-old black man who is 5 feet 9 inches tall, and weighs about 200 pounds, police said.
His last known address is 2269 Foothill Blvd. and he is known to frequent a Pak 'N Save food store on Hegenberger Road and a Home Depot on Alameda Avenue, police said.
Anyone with information is asked to call Oakland police at (510) 238-3951.