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To think this is a scam?

(105 Posts)
Abi35 Mon 22-Jan-18 13:17:51

Just to be clear, this isn’t an anti-homeless people/beggars post, I’m just wondering whether this in particular is a scam of some sort.

My daughter is at university in central London, and to get there from her halls she walks down the Kingsway, where there is a big four way junction. A lot of pedestrians gather at this junction waiting to be able to cross.

She says that sometimes, while she’s waiting to cross the road, a woman will come up to her, address her as ‘sister’, and either beg her for money or ask her to buy her an Oyster card. This lady said she needed to get to Sevenoaks.

It’s not always the same woman, but they’re always Eastern European and aged about 40-60 (she thinks), and are always wearing a children’s rucksack. Sometimes there’s only 1, sometimes there’s a group.

My daughter does give change to homeless people, but she feels very uncomfortable when these women approach her.

AIBU to think it’s an organised scam, or are they genuinely in need?

k2p2k2tog Mon 22-Jan-18 13:19:22

Distraction while someone else pickpockets her?

Whatever they're up to it's unsavoury.

lookingforthecorkscrew Mon 22-Jan-18 13:19:51

Ha! Welcome to London! Yes, it’s a scam. That’s why Londoners tend to ignore beggars and give to homeless charities instead. Tell your daughter to hold onto her valuables.

bluesu Mon 22-Jan-18 13:20:18

YANBU. There is a guy who hangs around an airport my DH frequents regularly and ALWAYS asks for €20 as he's had his wallet stolen and needs to get home.
Every time! He obviously doesn't recognise hes asking the same guy grin
DH did fall for it once 🙄. The guy is always smartly dressed in a suit too. I think it's a recognised scam

AssassinatedBeauty Mon 22-Jan-18 13:20:36

I wouldn't give money to anyone begging, it would be better to give that money to a relevant homeless charity. It's not a "scam" it's a straightforward request for cash or for an Oyster card they can probably sell on. I just would advise her not to engage and donate money properly instead.

ThisLittleKitty Mon 22-Jan-18 13:21:11

There's lots of women like that here where I am (london aswell) they walk around with empty prams saying they need money for milk for their babies.

Trashboat Mon 22-Jan-18 13:22:28

Probably part of an organised gang where these poor women barely get to see a penny of the money they have begged for.

Eltonjohnssyrup Mon 22-Jan-18 13:22:38

Yes, it's a scam. Happens in every city and not always foreign. There was a very famous one in Sheffield called Gemma.

theForeigner Mon 22-Jan-18 13:27:23

Define 'scam'.

The woman is reduced to begging. She probably needs money for food or shelter as opposed to a trip to Sevenoaks but I don't think "scam" is the right word.

@Trashboat - quite a jump to make it a 'feminist issue'. hmm

Abi35 Mon 22-Jan-18 13:27:39

Probably part of an organised gang where these poor women barely get to see a penny of the money they have begged for.

I presumed it was probably something like that.

We live in the countryside, so it’s a very different world.

Eltonjohnssyrup Mon 22-Jan-18 13:34:02

The woman is reduced to begging. She probably needs money for food or shelter as opposed to a trip to Sevenoaks but I don't think "scam" is the right word.

It is a scam. The money normally goes to someone higher up who has a lovely lifestyle, not on food or shelter for the woman concerned.

theForeigner Mon 22-Jan-18 13:39:36

What are you basing this "normally" on Elton?

BMW6 Mon 22-Jan-18 13:41:19

Shelter advises people never to give money to individuals. Far better to donate to a charity that helps those in need

Eltonjohnssyrup Mon 22-Jan-18 13:42:42

Oh you know, just police raids and prosecutions and MPs questions in parliament and the fact it's a well known scam which has had many high profile convictions.

That sort of unreliable bullshit.

Honestly, the people who are exploited in these gangs are exploited because of credulous gullible idiots who think that they're helping them when they give them money.

Hint: you're not.

MikeUniformMike Mon 22-Jan-18 13:42:53

I've been asked by the same woman for some change because she's having her period and needs to get sanitary towels three Saturdays in a row. She's probably bled to death by now.

Eltonjohnssyrup Mon 22-Jan-18 13:44:29

Incidentally, nuisance scam begging is common around Universities precisely because students are naive.

theForeigner Mon 22-Jan-18 13:45:37

@Eltonjohnssyrup - Ah, the well known blah, blah, blah no facts or concrete information unreliable bullshit.

ReanimatedSGB Mon 22-Jan-18 13:49:51

I know someone who works with homeless organisations - this sort of thing is a scam and, as PP have said, the people asking for money generally don't get very much of it (there are links with people-trafficking, as well.)
If you see or meet someone who is sleeping rough, get on to Streetlink. If you talk to someone who is homeless, you can ask if they would like you to get hold of Streetlink for them.

Missingstreetlife Mon 22-Jan-18 13:51:48

Buy them food, (or sanpro). I used to say no one starves in England but it's not true anymore. Food banks a necessary evil.

FluffyWuffy100 Mon 22-Jan-18 14:04:49

Honestly, the people who are exploited in these gangs are exploited because of credulous gullible idiots who think that they're helping them when they give them money.

Agree

This is a common scam. You really think the groups of eastern European women 'selling' tissues on the tube whit their identical cards saying "I have a one year old child please help me to feed him" carriage to carriage.. see any of the money they are getting?

Eltonjohnssyrup Mon 22-Jan-18 14:05:41

Yeah. Absolutely no evidence. confused

news.bbc.co.uk/panorama/hi/front_page/newsid_9618000/9618038.stm

www.telegraph.co.uk/news/uknews/crime/8837955/Child-beggars-make-nearly-100000-for-gangs.html

www.google.co.uk/amp/s/www.birminghammail.co.uk/news/local-news/foreign-begging-gangs-could-headed-6188383.amp

www.google.co.uk/amp/s/www.thestar.co.uk/news/beggars-part-of-organised-gangs-earn-up-to-200-a-day-in-sheffield-city-centre-1-8832158/amp

Is that enough? I can get more?

Aeroflotgirl Mon 22-Jan-18 14:06:34

Yes, tell your dd to ignore her and keep walking.

Tawdrylocalbrouhaha Mon 22-Jan-18 14:08:14

I don't think its a scam as such - as in they are probably not planning to distract and rob her - but certainly they are just telling her a story to get her to give them money.

When I first came to London as a student I fell for the one where a nice respectable looking person has lost their bag/wallet and just needs £5 to get home. (Ah yes, it was £5 then, and more credible because not everyone had a mobile phone. I am so old! But less naive).

Urubu Mon 22-Jan-18 14:17:25

I don't think its a scam as such [...] they are just telling her a story to get her to give them money
Isn't that the definition of a scam?

pudcat Mon 22-Jan-18 14:17:59

I cannot believe the naivety of a few on here. Yes it is a scam. They are trying to obtain money under false pretences. Also how do you know that they do not have an accomplice watching where you replace your purse to pickpocket you later. These things happen. Even in our small town we are warned by the police to be vigilant against such events. We have had folk stopped outside Tesco and asked for £10 because they have run out of petrol.

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