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Old 07-18-2012, 02:35 PM
 
Location: Arizona
6,017 posts, read 7,169,667 times
Reputation: 8043

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Yesterday I decided to have lunch at a local burger shop near where I work in Scottsdale. While I was eating my lunch, I couldn't help but overhear a phone conversation an obviously distraught young man was having nearby. He sounded as though he was calling some sort of public assistance agency looking for help, becuase he was visiting the area and had lost his wallet, had no money or ID as a result and was looking for a day's work so that he could get back home to CA. He claimed he had no money for gas or food. Apparently whoever he called was unable to help but referred him to someone else, who he then proceeded to call and repeat the story. He seemed to be embarassed by his situation and whenever another customer came close to him he would move away to continue his phone conversation. This then carried over to a third call with the same results. I have a son about this guy's age and I felt for him, so when he completed his third call I asked him if I could buy him lunch. He politely declined saying a local church had provided him some food. He told me he had flown into the area from San Diego on Saturday to pick up a car he had bought but he had lost his wallet and didn't have any money or ID. I asked about his family and he said his mother had tried to wire him money but Western Union wouldn't let him receive it without ID. She supposedly was his only family and she was unable to get to AZ to help him herself. He claimed he had slept in his car the past 3 nights, and he was trying to just get a day's work so he could earn the money to get back home but without ID no one would help him. He never asked me to give him anything, but I bought his story and asked him what he needed to get home. He said $60. I asked him if I gave him the $60 would he pay me back when he got home. He protested and said he'd rather work for the money and he didn't want a handout. I had no work he could do (nor would I have risked that) and losing 60 bucks wouldn't kill me, so I repeated my offer and he said that yes he'd send me the money back as soon as he got back to San Diego. We talked for a bit, he said he was a college student (he looked like one) who worked part time. I gave him the cash along with my address and my email address. I asked him to send me an email when he got home, and he said he would.

Well of course I never got an email. I did a little research and found that there are very similar scams to this, but I didn't find any that didn't involve the scammer directly approaching someone for money. So I will answer my own question with a "yes" - I got scammed. But the thing that gets me is that this guy never actually asked me for anything. Even when I offered the money he wanted to work for it - or so he claimed. I called the Scottsdale PD this morning, and they wouldn't even take a report. They were nice about it, but since I offered the guy a loan, they said no crime was committed.

Maybe in a few days I'll get a check. But I don't think that's likely. So I will chalk this up as a learning experience, and offer it as a heads-up to those who read this. The sad thing is that if I was scammed, this will make me less likely to help a stranger ever again.
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Old 07-18-2012, 03:04 PM
 
Location: Phoenix, Arizona
1,112 posts, read 3,710,193 times
Reputation: 1223
I probably would have asked for his contact information. But, everything is clearer in hindsight!
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Old 07-18-2012, 03:05 PM
 
Location: Arizona
6,017 posts, read 7,169,667 times
Reputation: 8043
Quote:
Originally Posted by CodyW View Post
I probably would have asked for his contact information. But, everything is clearer in hindsight!

Yeah, I thought the same thing. In hindsight.
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Old 07-18-2012, 03:49 PM
 
17,842 posts, read 39,893,730 times
Reputation: 10544
Well, this happened just yesterday, so give it a little more time, but yes, you may well have been scammed. I took pity on someone in a similar situation several years ago, I didn't ask for repayment, but unlike your situation, I was approached.
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Old 07-18-2012, 03:53 PM
 
Location: Arizona
6,017 posts, read 7,169,667 times
Reputation: 8043
Quote:
Originally Posted by observer53 View Post
Well, this happened just yesterday, so give it a little more time, but yes, you may well have been scammed. I took pity on someone in a similar situation several years ago, I didn't ask for repayment, but unlike your situation, I was approached.
True, time will tell. And I will post an update.
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Old 07-18-2012, 03:59 PM
 
Location: Southern Arizona
9,529 posts, read 29,140,691 times
Reputation: 11452
Sad, isn't it, JohnP?

What is even sadder is if these "scammers" (or possible scammers in this case) would put as much time and energy into a legitimate endeavor as they do these scams, they would be BAZILLIONAIRES.

Thank Goodness for KARMA.
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Old 07-18-2012, 04:31 PM
 
Location: Arizona
6,017 posts, read 7,169,667 times
Reputation: 8043
Quote:
Originally Posted by Bummer View Post
Sad, isn't it, JohnP?

What is even sadder is if these "scammers" (or possible scammers in this case) would put as much time and energy into a legitimate endeavor as they do these scams, they would be BAZILLIONAIRES.

Thank Goodness for KARMA.

Very true, because I have to admit if he is a scammer he was good. Casting a line out like that just to see if anyone would bite. He might have a future in theater if the scammer thing doesn't work out. Or politics.
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Old 07-18-2012, 06:11 PM
 
Location: Southern Arizona
9,529 posts, read 29,140,691 times
Reputation: 11452
Quote:
Originally Posted by johnp292 View Post
Very true, because I have to admit if he is a scammer he was good. Casting a line out like that just to see if anyone would bite. He might have a future in theater if the scammer thing doesn't work out. Or politics.
POLITICS, JohnP? . . . sounds more like it.

! ! ! ! ! !
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Old 07-18-2012, 10:03 PM
F40
 
Location: 85379^85268
826 posts, read 794,263 times
Reputation: 403
You did a nice thing. I doubt that it was a scam. Maybe he was a crazy cajilianaire and he is gonna reward you for be kind, never know
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Old 07-19-2012, 08:05 AM
 
Location: Gilbert - Val Vista Lakes
6,069 posts, read 13,934,037 times
Reputation: 3862
I think it was a scam with a twist.

If he wasn't looking for people to scam, then he would have made his phone calls in private and out of reach of people. It appears his MO is to keep making those phone calls where people can hear until someone reaches out to him, and then pretend to not want to take the money. That makes him appear more credible.

If he does repay the money, then I would still run. Because now he will have your trust, and you would be set up to ask for a larger "loan". After all, he's shown that he's good at paying money back.

My wife was approached recently in a super market parking lot by a young man on a bike. He said he needed money for his family to buy food. He said lived with his mom who was out of work and several siblings, and so on.

She refused, but when she came home she felt very bad because she thought the boy may have been serious.

I told her that there are ways for indigent people to get help, such as welfare, food stamps, food banks, etc.,

I also explained the danger in stopping to talk to this boy because he could have robbed and stabbed her and fled.

If I needed help, I would not go begging on the street. I would go to the places that are set up to help people in need.

I've seen these and other street scams locally, and in foreign countries, so I don't stop for any street solicitor, no matter how innocent they may seem, or how badly I may wish I could help.

It is just too risky in today's society.
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