Came home from dinner with DH last night, and as getting out of taxi at 11.30pm, woman sitting on doorstep of neighbours' house (one of those converted big Victorian ones with 7 flats) rushed up to us in tears and told us she'd got locked out, her nanny had called to say the children had been in a car accident and her handbag was in the house so she had no money to pay for a taxi to get to them. Could we lend her £20? She'd bring it back tomorrow. Duly lend her £20 and watched her run off.
The got inside with the uncomfortable feeling had just been scammed. reflected on some of the odd things she;d actually said...
1: I can't contact the nanny again, she's turned her phone off (why?) 2: ..she'd just taken them for a drive.. (at 11.30pm?) 3: They're in Slough, I need £25 for a taxi and only have £4 (we're in central London - taxi to Slough will be more like £80) 4: I'm trying to get through to my husband but he's working and my phone is nearly out of credit (she was sitting on the steps of a £2m apartment - people worth £2m to spend on their house do NOT run their phones on credit)
Anyway - so that's my £20 gone and am not expecting to see it again. Not massively bothered about ht emoney (would rather lose occasionally to tossers but actually still be the one that helped in a real emergency) but if you find a distressed unknown 'neighbour' on a doorstep, maybe ask them what their postcode is before handing over your £20..
I was scammed like this at Leicester Forest service station, coming home from work late, when I stopped to change my contact lenses for my glasses. A woman came and knocked on my car window, which gave me a fright, and gave me this tale of woe about running out of petrol and the service station refusing to serve her.
I was sceptical, but also quite frightened - it was dark and I didn't know who else might be with her. So I gave her £15.
It was clearly not genuine, because she was talking about getting to Leeds, whereas I was going to London, so she was on the wrong side of the motorway, but I took the view that I would always rather give someone the benefit of the doubt.
But something to be wary of. And I'd rather have give in that have been attacked in the dark.
Same happened to me in West London. Woman claimed to live on my street, crying because her mother had been in an accident, needed cab to hospital etc etc etc. I kind of knew it was a scam as it happened but couldn't refuse the £20 in case she was for real.
I've had it three times - fell for it first time! I really wished I'd said, "yes of course, but I hope you don't mind if I take your picture on my mobile phone first, because my local police liaison officer has warned us that there are a lot of unscrupulous people targetting this area!"
There is a regular one outside a theatre in london, she is there every night saying the same story "all the free hostels are full, my support worker can get me into another but I have to pay and have no money" Word for word every single night, she pops up in the interval