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Was I scammed?

24 replies

BornToFolk · 18/01/2010 10:36

I'm interested to know what other people would have done in this situation...was I a sucker?

On Friday, I was taking DS swimming. Outside the swimming pool, a distressed looking woman came up to me, apologised for bothering me and said that her daughter had just been rushed to hospital with an epileptic fit. The woman came to the swimming pool as she was looking for her mother who normally swam at that time. She said that she needed to get to the hospital but had no money for cab fare and needed £8. She originally asked if I could spare a couple of quid, then asked if I had the whole £8. I had a tenner in my purse so I gave it to her and she gave me £2 change (she had it in her hand which made me think that maybe she'd asked someone else for £2?) She offered to give me a bracelet she was wearing but I said no and she thanked me and rushed off back towards some houses where she said she lived.

Was it a scam? She did seem quite upset and I thought it would be awful if she was telling the truth and I refused to give her the money. However, it did occur to me afterwards that the swimming pool is only about a 10 min walk from the town centre where she could have found a cashpoint and flagged down a taxi.

I don't really regret giving her the money - I'd prefer to give her the money and be wrong, than to have not given it to her if her story was true but was just wondering what others would have done?

OP posts:
nickytwotimes · 18/01/2010 10:38

I wouldn't have given it to her, but I trust no one, tbh.

gorionine · 18/01/2010 10:39

You probaby were scammed but still I would have done juste like you!

As for ". However, it did occur to me afterwards that the swimming pool is only about a 10 min walk from the town centre where she could have found a cashpoint and flagged down a taxi." If she was really upset, the obviuos might not have been that obvious to her.

LaurieFairyCake · 18/01/2010 10:40

you did a nice thing whether scammed or not

If I had the money to spare I would have done the same thing but I would be more likely to have driven her there rather than give her money.

I am presuming that her dd had gone from somewhere else to the hospital so therefore she couldn't go in the ambulance with her.

If I'd offered to run her there it would quickly become apparent if she was scamming.

chopstheduck · 18/01/2010 10:41

Sounds very peculiar. Surely she would have gone in the ambulance with her daughter.

Rather awkward situation to be placed in though.

nickelbabe · 18/01/2010 10:41

it was only £8, and if it wasn't a scam then you've done a good deed.

BornToFolk · 18/01/2010 10:45

I was walking with DS in a buggy so I couldn't have offered a lift.

Yeah, I did think that she would have gone in the ambulance with her daughter but then thought maybe she was at school or somewhere and had gone from there?

There was nothing about the story that didn't make sense as such, it's just that it would take an awful lot for me to ask strangers for money.

And I kind of get the feeling that as a woman with a small child, I might have looked like a soft target...

OP posts:
thedollshouse · 18/01/2010 10:46

I don't trust anyone and I never have more than a couple of pounds in cash so I wouldn't have been able to help anyway. I would have offered her practical help, offered to phone the taxi company and explain her situation to them.

ChoChoSan · 18/01/2010 15:30

Hi OP,

Sadly this sort of thing goes on quite a lot where I live...we get people coming to our door with similar stories - they even come back with the same story time after time, and we have to remind them "Didn't the exact same thing happen a couple of months ago?" this sometimes leads to a weak protest, then the veneer drops when they realise they are onto a loser and you see them scanning around for the next victim.

I think scams like this really stink, as they rely on exploiting kind and caring people, and lead to people being cynical about what could be a genuine case.

If this does happen again, stop and think...offer alternatives to handing over a load of cash and try to find more info...the story should unravel fairly quickly, especially if every suggestion you make that might not involve you handing over cash is met with a "Yes...BUT..." answer. perhaps your first question should be "Do you want a lift?" (even if you don't have a car), and if there is some reason why they refuse that, then it's a bit fishy.

SlightlyFoxed · 18/01/2010 15:33

you probably were - something similar happened to me a while back. got asked for £7, handed over a tenner etc etc. very pressured, rushed situation which later made me think "oh hang on why didn't they just .."

felt a bit glum after for being duped but at least I did the right thing had the story been real.

it's an awful lot of work on the part of a scammer for a tenner or less though ...

ChilloGETALIFEhippi · 18/01/2010 15:43

Do you think it's a lot of work for a tenner? Sounds like a good scam to me.
I wouldn't have given here the money (mainly because £8 is a lot to lose at the moment), but IF she was genuine, you did a nice thing. If she wasn't genuine, well at least you tried to help.

SlightlyFoxed · 18/01/2010 15:55

well depending on how many people you have to go up to, spin the story, how much ground you have to cover to keep the cash coming etc etc. compared to min wage though obviously the scamming is more lucrative ...

ChilloGETALIFEhippi · 18/01/2010 16:14

I'm not planning on trying it though

Romanarama · 18/01/2010 20:28

My mum and dad get these people at the door (in London) quite often. My dad says OK, fine, I'll help you, but I have to make sure this isn't a scam, so I'm just going to take your photo, and I'll need you to pass me your passport so I can take a copy. They always say they don't have the passport, and he says that he'll give them the 20 quid or whatever when they've gone to get it and come back with it. So far no one has ever come back.

dignified · 24/01/2010 22:54

Something similar happened to me a while ago , a distressed man aproached me in the bus station saying his car had been stolen, did i have a fiver for his bus fare?
I declined as he was pointedly waving his car keys about, didnt he have a freind to ring? Who doesnt have a mobile these days?

youwillnotwin · 24/01/2010 22:59

This reply has been deleted

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

MadamDeathstare · 24/01/2010 23:05

This reply has been deleted

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

LauraIngallsWilder · 24/01/2010 23:16

I think you were scammed

But hey it was only £8

A learning experience!

LazyJourno · 24/01/2010 23:25

Sorry but lol at "The woman came to the swimming pool as she was looking for her mother who normally swam at that time"

Because that is exactly what I'd do. I wouldn't ask a friend, or another family member, or even a neighbour. I'd go to the local swimming baths. And ask someone entirely different for money

OP, you are very kind and even if you were scammed as I think you were, you were doing what you thought was right and if the woman is prepared to go to those lengths to get a few quid then she probably really needs it.

You are a good person

MattSmithIsNotMyLoveSlave · 24/01/2010 23:28

You were scammed, but your heart is in the right place.

JodieO · 24/01/2010 23:31

I'd have asked her why she didn't go with her daughter.... I'd assume it was for drugs or similar tbh if someone was doing that for money

RedbinDippers · 24/01/2010 23:33

You got done but its only money & there's nothing with trying to help strangers.

cheesesarnie · 24/01/2010 23:39

think you were scammed.but youre lovely.id have said i'll get my car and give you a lift.whether or not i had a car.

MummyPig · 25/01/2010 00:19

I think it probably was a scam but I can understand why you gave her the money.

Keep an eye out for her next time you go swimming and see if she's trying it on with other mums!

To be honest we have loads of people round here trying it on. I once came back home from somewhere with ds1 in the buggy, and noticed this woman hanging around on the opposite side of the road, but she didn't seem to realise I'd noticed her watching me. Later she turned up at the door with a story about her electricity running out and no-one being around to help her out and how her landlord was threatening to evict her. I'm sure she picked me because she'd noticed ds1 and thought I might be an easy target. I asked a few questions and thought her story was a bit dodgy, but fell short of just saying no - I called my landlord who lived upstairs as I knew he would be tough with her .

justsue · 25/01/2010 23:03

I would say you were scammed, but then you can sleep at night thinking you have helped someone whereas she hopefully has a guiltly conscience

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