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Happy Camper
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2,698 Posts
Discussion Starter #1 (Edited)
I think I was the intended victim of a panhandling scam.

The Setup:

I'm walking home from a late day at the office last week, going up Homer street by the Vancouver Library. It's around 7:30pm.

My mind's already in neutral thinking about things like whether or not my eyelids close at the exact same time when I blink.

I'm roused from my stupor by a guy walking behind me having a monologue in an English accent, like he's talking on a cell phone. He sounds like he's getting closer, and just as he passes me, he says something like, "Right, so you can't tell me where on Georgia street? - ok, well that's no help...thank you very much." - He ends his conversation and mutters to himself like he's upset.

We come to a red light and he turns to me and says, "Excuse me, would you know how long Georgia street is?"

The Conversation:

ME: [Friendly smile] "Pretty long."

English Patient: "Well do you know where the tourist information center is?"

ME: "No I don't, but there's a travel agency on Robson just a block away that is open late and I'm sure they'll know."

English Patient: "Oh right...I was just there, they didn't know. I've tried several travel agencies."

ME: "That's too bad."

English Patient: "...so do you know where I could get these traveller's cheques cashed?"

ME: "Nope. Not this late."

English Patient: "See, I have a flight to catch in an hour and a half and I just drove back from the airport with my rental car [holds up a key] and I can't get 411 [holds up his cell phone] to give me any useful information. I need to cash a cheque so I can get the money to pay for that stupid airport improvement fee."

ME: "Ah. I see." [Right now, I'm starting to think this is a scam. I purposely put on my hemrroid sufferer face and I show him my eyes scanning him up and down looking for clues that would indicate he's a bum. His hat's a little too dirty, and so are his hands.]

English Patient: "I have no idea how I'm going to get that money. Without it, I can't get on an airplane to go home".

ME: "Why don't you go to a Western Union and get your family to wire you some money..you have a cell phone right there".

English Patient: "...Uhmm, well those places are open here, but in the UK they're closed right now because of the time difference."

ME: "Really? I'm pretty sure those places are open 24 hrs in all major cities aroung the world."

English Patient: "No, they're not, I already tried. I'm at the end of my rope here, I'm almost about to cry."

ME: "I'm sure if you go to the airport and explain your situation, someone will help you out there."

At this point, I could tell the guy was starting to lose interest in me as an easy target. I guess he thought I was just going to give him $20 with his story so far. He was running out of lines. There was an awkward silence.

So I wished him the best of luck and gave him a pat on the shoulder and walked away.

Conclusion-

OK, so maybe this isn't a scam. Maybe the guy was genuinely in a predicament. My problem is that working downtown I hear this crap so often that I don't trust anybody anymore. These street con men have turned me into a cynic that has a hard time believing these stories.

Did I do the right thing or not?
Has anyone else had the same story given to them on a street corner?
- maybe if you hear it now, you'll know it's a scam.
 
D

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Guest
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it's a scam. AIF was rolled into the cost of the ticket a while ago.

even if it wasn't, you can get a cash advance against a credit card to pay it.. and do the advance at the airport.
 

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contradiction incarnate
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haven't encountered the exact same situation, but plenty close enough.

I say SCAM

good on ya for not going for it. :thumbup
 

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Registered
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well, I like to help if I can, but I don't like being taken advantage of.
I'd propably mention that 99 out of 100 a story like that would simply be a scam, THAT said, I'd ask the guy to show me his plain ticket, and offer to drive him down to a TD or Canada Trust, they're usually open late.
If I had time, I'd propably offer to give him a lift to the airport too.
That way I'd feed the ole Karma, and if the guy was a scammer(which he almost certainly was), he'd have none of it.

Also, I'd like to mention that I've heard a number of times lately about 'panhandling' involving "normal" looking people, as in well dressed, nice car and so on and a sap story, ending with a plea for cash money.
 

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contradiction incarnate
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we encountered a guy posing as a roadie after a concert we had been to.
looked "clean enough"
 

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Got Hammer?
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lol........just ask yourself, would YOU run around Downtown Vancouver asking for money from strangers to pay your airport improvement fee? I was taken by that dumb fucker that runs around East Van with a jerry can looking for bus fare to get to the gas station. Forgot who I was and asked me again 6 months later with the same story. Normal people hitchhike, call collect, or fucking walk before tapping people they don't know on the shoulder for money to fix their problems. That's just the way things work.

If it's any help, they've let me on a plane before after signing a promisary note that I'd mail them the fee when I got home. The English douchebag had some options that would have still had him going home. Probably doing the same thing all day.
 

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Fastronaut
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That was me. I really needed that $20, and now I'm stranded here forever.
Bastards!
 

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gixxstar said:
lol........just ask yourself, would YOU run around Downtown Vancouver asking for money from strangers to pay your airport improvement fee? I was taken by that dumb fucker that runs around East Van with a jerry can looking for bus fare to get to the gas station. Forgot who I was and asked me again 6 months later with the same story. Normal people hitchhike, call collect, or fucking walk before tapping people they don't know on the shoulder for money to fix their problems. That's just the way things work.

If it's any help, they've let me on a plane before after signing a promisary note that I'd mail them the fee when I got home. The English douchebag had some options that would have still had him going home. Probably doing the same thing all day.

that said, we have to help whenever possible, that's the only way we make this place more liveable.
what comes around goes around..I believe it.
the difficult part is weeding out the real people in need from the scammers.
 

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Been there, Wrecked that!
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Jester666 said:
that said, we have to help whenever possible, that's the only way we make this place more liveable.
what comes around goes around..I believe it.
the difficult part is weeding out the real people in need from the scammers.

What's sad is that people like you contribute to these scamers giving them hope they can dupe the next guy.
 

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I'm back
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I had a panhandling experience where I ran into a guy with a convicing story in Surrey and being the sucker I'am gave him some money. About 6 months later I'm working downtown and low and behold the same bastard with the same fucking story. I called him out and his accent disappeared. I then asked him where the australian accent went, it was actually pretty funny.

I no longer give money to anyone that I don't know, I don't care what their story is.
 

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CrashTested said:
What's sad is that people like you contribute to these scamers giving them hope they can dupe the next guy.
how do you mean?
if anything,I'm a pain in the ass for a scammer, asking al lthe questions, making them make up all the stories, and in the end. they get shit, because a scumbag who wants my money certainly won't want a lift to the airport for instance.
I don't like giving anyone on a street cash money-that's what charities are for.
But to offer an assistance or help in non-monetary way is not a big deal for me.
 

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I'm a she-male.
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whatever was said above is already said and it's all good. except for the dude who's stuck here forever now. d:

You can't be dt and get to the airport in 1.5hrs and check in and be ready and still return a rental car. If you have money/credit card for car rental you can pay aif in many different ways. If you have money for a plane ticket, if you have money to be in canada from england, you have money. Unless you're student. So if you don't look like a genuine poor student, then get away from me. d:
 

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Hey.. I'd rather a scammer then a Crack head threatening me for money.
Good on those crazy poor bastards for taking the effort to come up with an elaborate story to try to get your money. :laughing


Ryan
 

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Been there, Wrecked that!
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Jester666 said:
that said, we have to help whenever possible, that's the only way we make this place more liveable.
what comes around goes around..I believe it.
the difficult part is weeding out the real people in need from the scammers.

Oops my bad!

Thoough you said 'that's sad' but you actually wrote 'that said' :drinkbeer
 

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Gear whore
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good job man, scammers piss me off...
i thought you handled it well.
 
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I know what you guys are talking about. There's this woman who wears a black overcoat and smokes a cigar thats asked me for change to take the bus or whatever. She's asked me three times with the same i need change bullshit. I don't give money to anyone unless I know them.
 

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Excommunicated
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Quasi said:
I had a panhandling experience where I ran into a guy with a convicing story in Surrey and being the sucker I'am gave him some money. About 6 months later I'm working downtown and low and behold the same bastard with the same fucking story. I called him out and his accent disappeared. I then asked him where the australian accent went, it was actually pretty funny.

I no longer give money to anyone that I don't know, I don't care what their story is.

Did he give ya the story about his luggage stolen from the airport and needed like 14$ for the Bus ride to Whistler ?

A fake aussie tried that on me Downtown and when I told him I didnt have that much money he pointed to an ATM and said "theres a bank machine right there"

Then he gave me tha same sob story 3 months later .....

To prove he's from Australia he has a Homemade prison tattoo of a Kangroo on his forearm
 

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Mortgage Pimp
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At that point they're no longer panhandlers, they're confidence men... I find it more amusing than anything, those guys actually make money.

Good on them, they're making an effort, they just don't get MY money!
 

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I'm back
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Bondo said:
Did he give ya the story about his luggage stolen from the airport and needed like 14$ for the Bus ride to Whistler ?

A fake aussie tried that on me Downtown and when I told him I didnt have that much money he pointed to an ATM and said "theres a bank machine right there"

Then he gave me tha same sob story 3 months later .....

To prove he's from Australia he has a Homemade prison tattoo of a Kangroo on his forearm
Probably the same guy similiar but slightly different story. He had a job lined up in whistler and had to get there that night. :)
 
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