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Old December 1, 2009, 12:10 PM   #1
KingEdward
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New scam (don't fall victim)

I debated whether or not to post as this happened last Wed night (11/25).

But I thought some may want to know and I wonder if I could have (or should have done anything differently).

I drove to a nearby BlockBuster store to retun movies. You cannot park close in front due to the two lane traffic flow so you have to park about 90 feet from the door. I parked in a front space facing the front door. I walked in, dropped the movies and walked out.

As I was walking towards my vehicle I noticed another car had pulled in behind mine (the spaces are two deep) and a lady and her son got out and
walked past me. Nothing out of the ordinary. I opened my door, was about
to sit down when a Nissan Titan truck quickly pulled in front of my car sideways with the driver rolling down the passenger window and motioning to me with his hand to come towards the truck.

I kept my door open but had not started the car. I remained standing behind my door and I did not approach the truck. I didn't feel threatened per se but was a little concerned as I could not move my vehicle to leave. The driver of the truck was vehemently motioning for me to move towards the window but I did not. My next move depended on him and I was going to discreetly
call the police non emergency number from my cell phone in my jacket pocket
while watching him like a hawk. I was CCW but there was no immediate grave threat so I was not inclined to go that route.

He made his decision to yell out his window to me the following (and yes, there is a Walgreen's store about 100 feet across from the blockbuster): "Hey man, can you help me out as I am $10 short on getting a prescription filled at the Walgreens for my little girl. She is sick at home and I've been out of work and I really need a little help here."

I chose to remain behind my car door and expressed the following to him: "I do not have any cash on me and I feel for your situation. Maybe the manager or someone in the store can help you out. Can you please move your truck as I need to leave."

He then looked me up and down for about 20 seconds and he did not seem pleased. I dialed the number and hit send. He drove away and did not turn in to the Walgreens. I told dispatch what happened and gave them his tag #. I came close to following him and calling Police again if he tried it on someone else but I went home.

I've never been "boxed in" before and some on here have shared stories and I understand now it is not a comfortable feeling. While I don't believe he was a violent threat, my gut said stay by my car and be ready for anything.

If you are doing business near a Walgreen's, be alert to this scam. It seems they'll come up with anything for ten bucks these days. I found it a little hard to believe that he was in a $40,000 truck and couldn't come up with
money for his sick child.
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Old December 1, 2009, 12:14 PM   #2
jontz
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Thanks for the heads up. Info like this is always appreciated. I think that you handled the situation perfectly well. You kept your head, didn't allow anything to escalate, and alerted the authorities about the situation. Textbook CCW case, if you ask me...no shots fired.
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Old December 1, 2009, 12:16 PM   #3
Brian Pfleuger
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Quote:
If you are doing business near a Walgreen's, be alert to this scam. It seems they'll come up with anything for ten bucks these days. I found it a little hard to believe that he was in a $40,000 truck and couldn't come up with
money for his sick child.
Just two things:

1)I doubt that it's "Walgreens" specific. A pharmacy is a pharmacy. Besides that, it's not even pharmacy specific. The nearly identical scam goes down regarding baby formula, gasoline, milk, food.....

2)I don't doubt your feelings that something wasn't quite right. However, being in a $40,000 truck or a $40 truck has no relevance. Everyone comes on hard times. He MAY have been legit, maybe not, but his apparent affluence has no bearing. In fact, if it has ANY bearing at all, it would be adding legitimacy in my mind. If he's driving a $40k truck then he's probably not a violent or hardened criminal. Yes, there are possibilities (stolen, etc) but it makes it less likely, if anything, in my mind.
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Old December 1, 2009, 12:18 PM   #4
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+1

You done good. You didn't allow it to advance to the point of needing to draw, and a day without having to draw/shoot is a good day.

Kudos for leting the local PD know about it and good job getting the tag #.
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Old December 1, 2009, 12:20 PM   #5
KingEdward
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If he was legit, I'm not sure why he didn't go back towards (or hang around)the Walgreens.

He drove 3 miles to a big intersection (I was going the same way) then he turned left which in about a mile leads to Interstate 24.

I turned right towards home.
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Old December 1, 2009, 12:25 PM   #6
Brian Pfleuger
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If he was legit, I'm not sure why he didn't go back towards (or hang around)the Walgreens.
That's true, but there may be reasons for that too. Maybe he was embarrassed enough already, and realized from your response that his idea to ask for help might be a bad one. He might live in that direction and was headed home to dig for change in the coach, or finally suck it up and ask a friend for help. You never know. Or, it's entirely possible that it was a scam. I'm just saying, there could easily be legitimate reasons.
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Old December 1, 2009, 12:33 PM   #7
KingEdward
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good points Peetza.

What is ironic is last week just prior to this happening I had printed off
and read a lot of the back and forth on TFL of postings on people bumming for money and being "boxed in" or taken by surprise, etc.

And while ccw the importance of awareness and not going overboard when
something is not a grave bodily threat.
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Old December 1, 2009, 12:36 PM   #8
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I had a similar experience. There is a takeout only pizza place right near 3 different bars. My wife loves their pizza so I get stuck going there to get some every time she gets the hankerin. Anyway, on two occassions I have had people come to me and ask for "spare change." It is obvious to me they want drinking money so I ask them what they want it for. One guy said he wanted it for a cab since he was too drunk to drive home. I told him to call a cab and I would pay the cabbie to drive him where he needed to go. He flipped me off and walked away. The second guy was quite a bit more confrontational. I asked him what he wanted it for. He started yelling at me saying, "why do people always ask what it is for? No one in this damn town cares about anyone but themselves!!!" I told him that I don't even give money to my kids without asking what it is for. He rode away on his bike yelling at everyone that was near enough to hear. It was funny because my kids aren't even old enough to ask for money but somehow thats what came to my mind.
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Old December 1, 2009, 12:39 PM   #9
Brian Pfleuger
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You done good, BTW. Not naive, not Rambo. Well balanced.
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Old December 1, 2009, 01:05 PM   #10
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Quote:
I'm just saying, there could easily be legitimate reasons.
A legitimate reason for pandering? I think not.
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Old December 1, 2009, 01:06 PM   #11
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That's true, but there may be reasons for that too. Maybe he was embarrassed enough already, and realized from your response that his idea to ask for help might be a bad one. He might live in that direction and was headed home to dig for change in the coach, or finally suck it up and ask a friend for help. You never know. Or, it's entirely possible that it was a scam. I'm just saying, there could easily be legitimate reasons.
Most unlikely.

Aggressive "panhandling" is a chronic problem in our downtown area. I have been asked for change or a couple of bucks "for the bus" daily for the last two decades.

I never give a panhandler money for the same reason I do not feed pigeons; it creates a problem.

More pertinent to this thread though is the danger you create whenever you touch your wallet in public. You let everyone know that you have it and where to find it.
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Old December 1, 2009, 01:19 PM   #12
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However, being in a $40,000 truck or a $40 truck has no relevance. Everyone comes on hard times.
People do come on hard times, but if someone asked me for money like the guy did and driving an expensive car, I'd have to pull the BS card on them. I'd tell them to go to the bank thats making that truck payment and withdraw the 10 bucks.
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Old December 1, 2009, 01:19 PM   #13
Omaha-BeenGlockin
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Is Blockbuster still even in business?? who goes there anymore?
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Old December 1, 2009, 01:24 PM   #14
Brian Pfleuger
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Magi
A legitimate reason for pandering? I think not.

Do you seriously believe that there is NEVER a legitimate excuse to ask for assistance from strangers? Really?


Quote:
Originally Posted by zukiphile
Aggressive "panhandling" is a chronic problem in our downtown area. I have been asked for change or a couple of bucks "for the bus" daily for the last two decades.

I never give a panhandler money for the same reason I do not feed pigeons; it creates a problem.
"Panhandling" from a "$40,000 truck"? Seriously? You don't make that kind of money by "panhandling". There are really only a couple of options. This guy was either completely straight up and, having fallen on hard times, needed $10 for his daughters prescription or he was a normal dude, fallen on hard times, and was looking for money for some beer to drown his sorrows, or he stole the truck. Really, you don't "panhandle" from an expensive truck.

Quote:
Originally Posted by zukiphile
More pertinent to this thread though is the danger you create whenever you touch your wallet in public. You let everyone know that you have it and where to find it.
That seems a bit over the top. I touch my wallet in public on a daily basis. I can honestly say that it never occurred to me that doing so would be dangerous. For one thing, 90% of men keep their wallet in the same place. For another thing, if someone gets the drop on me and is ahead of the curve and wants my wallet then he's getting my wallet. He doesn't need to know where it is ahead of time.

Quote:
Originally Posted by #18IndyColts
People do come on hard times, but if someone asked me for money like the guy did and driving an expensive car, I'd have to pull the BS card on them. I'd tell them to go to the bank thats making that truck payment and withdraw the 10 bucks.
Except he's been laid off for six months, his account is over drawn and closed by the bank, the bank is about to repo the truck, he's been trying to sell it for months and nobodies buying, he has no other transportation and his daughter has a fever of 102 and needs this prescription.

Likely? It's more likely every day. I saw it when the economy was "good". It happens more and more every day.
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Old December 1, 2009, 01:24 PM   #15
KingEdward
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yes, there are still a few. I go there maybe once a month.

I use Netflix mostly which is convenient.
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Old December 1, 2009, 01:27 PM   #16
Magi
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Do you seriously believe that there is NEVER a legitimate excuse to ask for assistance from strangers? Really?
Never ... especially when asking for cash money.

And even more to the point, especially when the panderer takes an aggressive and dominating stance by blocking in the "victim".

Why? Do you?
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Old December 1, 2009, 01:31 PM   #17
Brian Pfleuger
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Magi
Why? Do you?
More than I can possibly put into print.

His mannerism and methods were poor, absolutely. He may have been a thief, a dangerous criminal, a real dirt bag. I acknowledged that in my first post.

He may have also been a desperate and scared father, with no experience in begging for money, having not thought it out ahead of time and going about it the wrong way. I've been desperate and scared. I never did what this guy did, but I can understand why he would. Walk a mile in his shoes, it may change your perspective.

Either is possible. The second, frankly, is more likely.
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Old December 1, 2009, 01:31 PM   #18
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Another variation of something similar. I take a train between New York and Boston about once a month. Recently there have been folks getting on the train and they start asking for help. They are out of work and about $50 short for the train ride and their little girl is home sick.

I've seen it 3 out of 4 recent trips, and it virtually always garners donations.

Thanks for the tip.

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Old December 1, 2009, 01:41 PM   #19
zukiphile
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Quote:
Quote:
Aggressive "panhandling" is a chronic problem in our downtown area. I have been asked for change or a couple of bucks "for the bus" daily for the last two decades.
I never give a panhandler money for the same reason I do not feed pigeons; it creates a problem.
"Panhandling" from a "$40,000 truck"? Seriously? You don't make that kind of money by "panhandling".
You would be surprised. Some of the men who do this full time, make a very good living at it. We've had examples of professional panhandlers living in middle income homes.

Quote:
There are really only a couple of options. This guy was either completely straight up and, having fallen on hard times, needed $10 for his daughters prescription or he was a normal dude, fallen on hard times, and was looking for money for some beer to drown his sorrows, or he stole the truck. Really, you don't "panhandle" from an expensive truck.
There is a third option. Aggressive panhandling does not rely exclusively on the guilt of a mark. It instills fear and discomfort in the mark who can buy his way out of the situtation at a modest price. Remember that Bernard Getz was just asked for a couple of dollars...by a lad holding a screw driver.

Blocking in a vehicle and asking/demanding money is pretty aggressive IMO.

Quote:
Quote:
More pertinent to this thread though is the danger you create whenever you touch your wallet in public. You let everyone know that you have it and where to find it.
That seems a bit over the top. I touch my wallet in public on a daily basis. I can honestly say that it never occurred to me that doing so would be dangerous. For one thing, 90% of men keep their wallet in the same place.
Pick pockets like to know the location of the wallet they will lift. I get my wallet in a restaurant or the post office or the gas station, but pulling your wallet out on the street serves no good purpose and invites attention you cannot want.

The person asking you for money need not be your real problem either. It can be a person simply observing those who interact with a panhandler. I've noticed that when I see someone stopped to pay a panhandler, they are invariably people who are not from the city and may not have their wits about them for other urban problems. If I were looking for a target, I imagine I would like someone like that.

My point isn't to feed any paranoia, but to suggest that giving money on the street has problems some may have not contemplated.
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Old December 1, 2009, 01:42 PM   #20
Magi
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Peetza, its a scam. Seriously.
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Old December 1, 2009, 01:52 PM   #21
Brian Pfleuger
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Magi
Peetza, its a scam. Seriously.
Did you miss the several posts where I acknowledged that possibility?

From my first post:

Quote:
Originally Posted by Peetzakilla
I doubt that it's "Walgreens" specific. A pharmacy is a pharmacy. Besides that, it's not even pharmacy specific. The nearly identical scam goes down regarding baby formula, gasoline, milk, food.....

It's also sometimes NOT a scam. We have people come to my church asking for money all the time. ALL-THE-TIME. Sometimes, it's a scam. Sometimes it's not. We always assume that it MIGHT BE, while simultaneously trying to show that it's not, so that we can help people in need. We're not naive. We don't give people cash, EVER. We also don't turn people away because they're asking in a way that might be suspicious or different than what we would do. We do everything we can to help everyone we can help.


KingEdward's action were completely legitimate. Personally, I would have told the guy that I'd meet him at the pharmacy and go in with him to cover the difference. That would have completely solved the issue. It would be instantly clear that it was either a scam or not. However, KingEdward is not obliged to do what I would do. He acted in a reasonable way, consistent with a responsible armed citizen.
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Old December 1, 2009, 02:01 PM   #22
KingEdward
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I came really close to responding that I would be willing to follow
him into the Walgreen's and help him out as I don't mind helping
in certain situations.

The main reason I responded as I did was that he seemed agressive
to me and intent on not moving his vehicle until he got something.

The people I have helped in the past have been humble and very
non agressive and when I have needed help I'm the same way.

I wouldn't block someone's vehicle and insist they come talk to me
with hands flailing.
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Old December 1, 2009, 02:02 PM   #23
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We don't give people cash, EVER. We also don't turn people away because they're asking in a way that might be suspicious or different than what we would do. We do everything we can to help everyone we can help.
That's outstanding. It is easy to become jaded in charitable giving because it is inevitable that someone will take undue advantage of what you offer. You accept it and move on to the next person you can help. You know that on the whole you are doing good and helping people

I don't believe these on-the-street panhandling transactions, where all that is given is cash, are charity though. If one gives another enough money to OD, he's not really conferred a benefit.
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Old December 1, 2009, 02:09 PM   #24
Magi
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KingEdward did well NOT to engage the panhandler further by offering to go in to the store with him. Asking him to move his vehicle accomplished the task of finding out whether it was a scam or not far more quickly and, I would add, with far less contact than would have been required if he had chosen to offer to go into the store with the panhandler.
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Old December 1, 2009, 02:11 PM   #25
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I just think it's kinda odd that people tell me their kids are sick and can't afford their medicine. Go to Meijer, Walmart, etc. where they're either free or $4. If you still can't afford the meds, get on medicaid for the kids and have medicaid pay for their prescriptions.
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