Author Topic: S/O Beggars, Moochers and Scammers  (Read 656685 times)

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Pippen

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S/O Beggars, Moochers and Scammers
« on: October 09, 2012, 07:09:35 PM »
The begging thread had me thinking about how often we encounter people whose sole purpose in life seems to be trying to relieve you of your hard earned money. What methods have people tried to use on you or people you know in the past and how did you handle the situation? The 419 email scammers seem to get a fair bit of exposure but there are so many that aren't as blatant that manage to suck people in.

An elderly person I know answered a flyer in the newspaper pro porting to be able to alleviate arthritis pain. The next day a salesman arrived on their doorstep and did a 5 hour hard sell on this special massage chair. They basically had to give him a cheque to get him to leave (Which was immediately cancelled) The cost of this chair? $17,000. It was in the news and on a consumer affairs show warning people not to deal with them but what they were doing was perfectly legal as by responding to the flyer they had technically been invited rather than cold calling people. $17,000 for a vibrating chair. Outrageous.

RegionMom

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Re: S/O Beggars, Moochers and Scammers
« Reply #1 on: October 09, 2012, 10:53:30 PM »
My credit union has large signs warning the elderly of checking and banking scams. 
I wish I knew a cure, but as long as people are willing to give even a bit of money, scammers will be there to take as much as they can. 
 >:( >:(
Fear is temporary...Regret is forever.

Slartibartfast

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Re: S/O Beggars, Moochers and Scammers
« Reply #2 on: October 09, 2012, 11:50:36 PM »
I've actually got a weird version of this going on now.  I'm going to a science fiction convention next week to sell some jewelry - it will be my first overnight convention (that I'll be a vendor for), and I'll have Bittybartfast with me, so it's going to be interesting.  My sister is driving down to help me, and the two of us will split the cost of the hotel room.  Since I'm a vendor, I get my convention badge for free and I can get my "assistant" a free badge too.  Not that badges are hugely expensive - $30 or so - but it's a nice perk.

My sister has a friend in HerCity who is one of those perpetually broke people.  She's very nice, kind, etc. but she's always moaning about how broke she is and if anyone suggests doing something that costs money, she complains about not having any.  Sometimes someone else will cover for her, sometimes the group changes their plans, and sometimes she just doesn't get to go.  (I should mention that she never has money for going out with friends, but frequently has money for things related to her hobbies.)

Anyway, since we'll have the hotel room anyway and it really would be nice to have an extra pair of hands (since I will be dealing with a four-month-old while trying to sell stuff!), my sister and I talked and we decided to invite her friend to come with us.  She wouldn't have to pay toward the hotel room, since we'd be splitting that cost anyway, and all I'd ask is an hour or two during the convention for her to help me at my booth because a friend of mine is giving a presentation and I'd like to see it.

Here's the  ::) ::) ::) part - she's still not willing to make up her mind whether she's going to go or not.  We're offering her a completely free (other than food) trip to a convention she's gone to the last few years, and has been lamenting about not being able to afford this year, and all I want is a "yes" or a "no" so I can start planning the logistics of doing this with a baby.  From what my sister says, it's not a money thing (we can bring our own food and keep a cooler in the room if we want to) - it's a "friend is a flake" thing.  I was thinking this would be a nice thing we could offer her friend to come along with which didn't involve anyone having to chip in for her or cover her or loan her money, but my sister is getting pretty frustrated with this particular friend always being on the receiving end of things and never even attempting to reciprocate with a plate of cookies or an offer to help do stuff.  My sister may be moving sometime soonish (her boyfriend lives five hours away from where she is now), and I'm guessing when she does, this friend will gradually become an ex-friend.

Yarnspinner

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Re: S/O Beggars, Moochers and Scammers
« Reply #3 on: October 10, 2012, 01:17:14 AM »
Years and years and YEARS ago, I went to a science fiction/fantasy convention with friends.  Bibbie and I both had jobs.  Her friend Mooch did not.  I was told " Instead of trying to divide or split the bill, we just take turns buying meals.  It evens out in the end."  Happily I knew I would only be in this situation for a day and a half as I was meeting up with other friends on Sunday and would be leaving with them for dinner and a play which had already been paid for.

Yeah, not so much, especially since Bibbie abandoned me to the tender mercies of Mooch so Bibbie could spend all her time with her boyfriend, Arrogant. 

Mooch would do stuff like turn on the television as loud as humanly possible and then fall asleep...but yu couldn't turn it off because it would wake her up.  However, if you woke up in the middle of the night and tried to get to the bathroom, Mooch would wait until you were halfway there then she would leap from bed and run into the bathroom and leave you dancing from foot to foot while SHE suddenly decided she needed to take a shower at 4 a.m.  (Yeah, Mooch had issues.)

And then there was fun with food.

The "I want to look cool in front of my girl friend" Scam: Arrogant insisted we all go to "the best restaurant in town" and that money was no object and we should buy anything on the menu and not be intimidated by price.  Bibbie said "He's taking us out tonight."

Because Bibbie had the worst taste in men (and still does) I did not believe it and ordered the least expensive thing on the menu.  Thank heaven's I listened to my gut as Arrogant said "Oh, I should have said that you guys are on your own."

And then there was "I Am Spending Every Penny I Have on First Edition Everything, Especially Since I'm Gonna Con YOU Into Buying Dinner" Mooch.

I had portioned my money out carefully, but since I was locked into the "We buy each other's meals" with Mooch breathing down my neck--and Bibbie off with Arrogant--I decided that I would get my share over with (especially since I knew I would be in writing seminars all day, didn't have much money to my name  and wasn't going to get stuck paying the bill for Mister "I'm Going to Eat A Lot on Your Dime Even Though I Won't Pay For You On Mine.")

I didn't realize that Mooch had an appetite like Sarloc.  I figured we'd spend about 14 bucks total on breakfast...wrong!  I had planned for a small breakfast for myself...Mooch had a more grandiose plan.  I wound up spending almost twenty five dollars in a time and place that that kind of money would have bought a family of four a nice sit down dinner out.  Seven of it was mine.  I can only imagine what supper would have been like.

Happily, I got to eat lunch by myself at a cute little gourmet burger place and since I ate late, I just wasn't hungry for supper.  Because I still needed to pay my other friends for the theater and dinner tickets, I avoided the dealers room, and hung on to my precioius few dollars.

But the next day, as I was packing up with plans to sneak off quietly Mooch came tearing in to our hotel room.

"Quick!  I need you to give me all your money and write me a check that totals about two hundred dollars."

"I don't even have fifty," I told her "and what I have is ear marked for the play this afternoon."

"But I NEEEEEEEEEEED it.  I've just seen the most beautiful painting in the world and it's five hundred dollars, but the artist will hold it if I give hm two hundred dollars and I have to have it."

I repeated that I did not have but twenty left to my name, that that was already earmarked for the play I was going to see and I could not give it to her.

She continued to whine and cajole and beg and plead and even tried to carry my suitcase downstairs so she could beg from my other friends as well.  These days I wish I had said something like "Maybe if you didn't eat everything in sight,  didn't buy every darn pretty painting you see and didn't buy hundreds of dollars worth of books--have yu ever heard of a library?--you would have two hundred for what you really want."  But even without ehell, I knew then that would be mean and rude.  So I just kept repeating that the money I had was already promised to someone else.

And when I found my other friends and we went off to see Forbidden Broadway, I made them promise that they would never ever let me go to another convention with Bibbie, Mooch and Arrogant ever again.

And I never did.

weeblewobble

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Re: S/O Beggars, Moochers and Scammers
« Reply #4 on: October 10, 2012, 07:22:08 AM »
I used to work in an office where we handled applications for people who needed utility/grocery assistance. And yes, I can tell you without a doubt that while there are people out there in genuine need, there are people who make their "living" this way.  A good part of my job was calling the utility companies and asking how often the applicant was late paying and how often they received assistance from groups like ours.  If they received frequent help, we were far less likely to help them.

A few doozies from my years there:

- The gentleman who frequently came by our office to ask my boss for $20 for "medicine."  He got angry when the boss refused to give it to him.  So he went around the residential neighborhood where our offices were located, telling the homeowners that he was our "handyman" and would be happy to odd jobs for cash.  This was a neighborhood that wasn't used to homeless people going door-to-door soliciting cash.  We got a lot of complaint calls about it and had to put out word through the neighborhood grapevine that residents should NOT let him into their house.

- The same guy came in a few weeks later saying that his mother had died in a city 600 miles away and he needed a bus ticket to go to the funeral.  My boss hoped that if we bused him home to his family that they might take care of him.  So my boss took him to the bus station and bought him a one-way ticket. 

Guess who came in just two weeks later?  He never got on the bus or made it to the funeral.  But he needed "rent" money and figured we might want to buy the bus ticket back for $250.

Ummm, no.

My boss groaned, "I should have put him ON the bus."

-The woman who came into an unsecured backdoor afterhours and demanded grocery assistance from my coworker.  Coworker tried to tell her that the assistance funds had been locked up for the day and she didn't have a key.  So the woman demanded that coworker hand over cash from her purse.  It took threatening to call 911 before the lady would leave.

-The scariest incident was when a woman followed me into the office (I was always the first one to arrive and unlock).  I walked into the breakroom to start the coffee, turned around and there she was, demanding gas money.  I tried to explain I couldn't give it to her and she snatched the freshly brewed coffee from the machine.  I thought she was going to douse me with it.  She was between me and the phone.  I couldn't call for help. I honestly thought, "OK, I'm going to have to wrestle this woman."  Fortunately, my boss came in and defused this situation.  And no, we didn't give her gas money.
« Last Edit: October 10, 2012, 07:34:35 AM by weeblewobble »

Amara

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Re: S/O Beggars, Moochers and Scammers
« Reply #5 on: October 10, 2012, 11:31:09 AM »
Your situation is a disaster in the making, Slartibartfast. I would urge you, in the strongest possible terms, to think about getting out of this even if it smacks of a little rudeness. Tell her she cannot come on the trip. Not only won't you get any help at the booth, you will probably end up babysitting her too while she whines worse than your child. Trust me on this; I am speaking from experience. Get out of it while you still can!

CLE_Girl

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Re: S/O Beggars, Moochers and Scammers
« Reply #6 on: October 10, 2012, 11:55:25 AM »
Craigslist is the worst!

My DH is selling a whole bunch of stuff right now and as the computer savvy one I'm doing the listings with the replies coming to my e-mail address.  For every legitimate reply there are 4-5 scammers replying.  And they are getting smarter every week! 

Week 1 - scammer would reply to every single listing across multiple boards.  The e-mail would always be one line "is item still available?" and sent from a cell phone.  The reply to e-mail address would be different then the sent from address.  I replied and would get the typical "I'm out of town, my assistant will send a check, I'll arrange movers/pick up."  And it was always in Very formal/proper english, like too formal to be a native english speaker.   

Week 2 - Only respond to listings on one board.  I would still get multiple e-mails from the same "person" since I have multiple listings.  The rest would be the same as Week 1.

Week 3 - I'd get a response to only one listing and the reply to e-mail would be the same as the sent from e-mail.  The rest would be the same as week 1

Week 4 - Response to only one listing, now the first response includes questions about the item or information about when they are available to inspect/pick up the item.  The reply to and sent from e-mail would be the same.  Everything would be in overly formal/proper english.  And there would be 2-3 e-mails back and forth before I'm hit with the "I'm out of town, my assistant will send a check, I'll arrange movers/pick up."

It's getting really frustrating because now I'm getting invested in this potential buyer and excited that my item's are selling, then I'm hit with the scam.  DH says that's the price you pay for the service being free...

2littlemonkeys

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Re: S/O Beggars, Moochers and Scammers
« Reply #7 on: October 10, 2012, 12:20:39 PM »
Just last year, I answered a call for the Printer Scam at work.  Many years ago, our office manager was the victim of the very same scam, so I had some familiarity with the way it went.  Snopes explains it here:

http://www.snopes.com/crime/fraud/supplies.asp

There are several variations but this particular scam is if you give the model number off the printer in question, you are either given a hard sell for really crappy but expensive toner or find yourself receiving a large case of very poor quality toner you never ordered, accompanied by a very expensive invoice.  The payoff is that they hope the invoice will just get paid to avoid litigation. 


Some BG:  I'm an assistant but I work at a pretty large company.  While we order supplies like pens, folders, note pads, etc., we have a person whose job is to maintain the printer/copier/fax machines we have.  I am not that person.  Anyone who does such business with our company would know that I am not that person.

So my phone rang.  Most of the time we have a caller ID display but this one was marked "PR-1," which means private.  My primary client's number occasionally comes up private, so I picked it up and answered with my customary greeting of "Company Name, this is 2LM." 

It's Tony and he says something like,

Tony: "Hey 2LM!  Listen, I was getting ready to send out your toner order but I wanted to make sure I had the right one.  Can you run over and get me the model number printer?"  (DING DING DING go the warning bells, LOL.)

Me: "Sir, I'm afraid I haven't ordered any toner and I'm not the person in charge of such things.  Good bye."

I was 99.999% sure it was a scam and had no intention of feeding this guy our real printer guy's name or number.  I let the Keeper of the Printer know about the call on the off chance he really did have a pending order and the guy just mis-dialed.  He didn't so I alerted my team to make them aware.  I have no idea how this guy got my extension. 

Ginger G

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Re: S/O Beggars, Moochers and Scammers
« Reply #8 on: October 10, 2012, 12:49:15 PM »
Regarding the printer scam, I did something years ago that I'm not particulary proud of now, but here it goes...

I used to work at a fairly large company and for some reason these scammer calls kept coming to me even though the department I worked in had nothing to do with office supplies.  I would usually just say "not interested" and hang up.  One day, I just got fed up, and when the guy asked me to verify the model #, I said "okay sure!!" in a very friendly way and put him on hold.  I picked the phone back up and then said the first few actual numbers and then started spelling out in letters  "**** YOU".  You can probably guess what the "****" was.  Not nice I know, but I never got any more calls after that.

Slartibartfast

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Re: S/O Beggars, Moochers and Scammers
« Reply #9 on: October 10, 2012, 12:52:19 PM »
Last time I got one of those, I tried something I had read about here on eHell  ;D

Her: "I'm about to send your toner order but could you please verify the serial number on your printer?"
Me: "Sure, let me go check.  One second.  Here it is: 4."
Her: "No, that's not it - should be a longer number than that."
Me: "Nope, that's the serial number - this printer is very old."
Her: " . . ."
Me: "Yeah, not falling for it, sorry.  Goodbye.  *click*"

Winterlight

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Re: S/O Beggars, Moochers and Scammers
« Reply #10 on: October 10, 2012, 01:39:35 PM »
I've actually got a weird version of this going on now.  I'm going to a science fiction convention next week to sell some jewelry - it will be my first overnight convention (that I'll be a vendor for), and I'll have Bittybartfast with me, so it's going to be interesting.  My sister is driving down to help me, and the two of us will split the cost of the hotel room.  Since I'm a vendor, I get my convention badge for free and I can get my "assistant" a free badge too.  Not that badges are hugely expensive - $30 or so - but it's a nice perk.

My sister has a friend in HerCity who is one of those perpetually broke people.  She's very nice, kind, etc. but she's always moaning about how broke she is and if anyone suggests doing something that costs money, she complains about not having any.  Sometimes someone else will cover for her, sometimes the group changes their plans, and sometimes she just doesn't get to go.  (I should mention that she never has money for going out with friends, but frequently has money for things related to her hobbies.)

Anyway, since we'll have the hotel room anyway and it really would be nice to have an extra pair of hands (since I will be dealing with a four-month-old while trying to sell stuff!), my sister and I talked and we decided to invite her friend to come with us.  She wouldn't have to pay toward the hotel room, since we'd be splitting that cost anyway, and all I'd ask is an hour or two during the convention for her to help me at my booth because a friend of mine is giving a presentation and I'd like to see it.

Here's the  ::) ::) ::) part - she's still not willing to make up her mind whether she's going to go or not.  We're offering her a completely free (other than food) trip to a convention she's gone to the last few years, and has been lamenting about not being able to afford this year, and all I want is a "yes" or a "no" so I can start planning the logistics of doing this with a baby.  From what my sister says, it's not a money thing (we can bring our own food and keep a cooler in the room if we want to) - it's a "friend is a flake" thing.  I was thinking this would be a nice thing we could offer her friend to come along with which didn't involve anyone having to chip in for her or cover her or loan her money, but my sister is getting pretty frustrated with this particular friend always being on the receiving end of things and never even attempting to reciprocate with a plate of cookies or an offer to help do stuff.  My sister may be moving sometime soonish (her boyfriend lives five hours away from where she is now), and I'm guessing when she does, this friend will gradually become an ex-friend.

Offer a disinvite. Now. This will not end well. I've been there, done that and needed Valium afterwards.
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Piratelvr1121

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Re: S/O Beggars, Moochers and Scammers
« Reply #11 on: October 10, 2012, 01:42:32 PM »
Years ago, before my oldest was born but when I was pregnant with him, DH was in the marines and we were living in a 1br apartment off base. We weren't making a ton of money since he was an E3/Lcpl but we were okay and able to pay all our bills and feed ourselves.

Okay, well I think I was around 6-7 months along at this point and one of the guys in his company sings him a sad tale about how he knows he's going to get into trouble when the results of the latest drug test come back.  It's a bad idea for him to stay in the barracks and he doesn't want to go to the brig, he wants to get clean.  Could he stay with us for a couple days until he finds another solution?

Being naive and a sucker for a sad story, DH tells me and manages to convince me to say yes by saying "it's just a few days and he'll contribute towards food." Okay so I was a sucker too and even more naive.

So, guess what happened? Anyone, anyone? Beuller? That's right, he stayed for two weeks, and we never saw any money. Not only that, but he moved his girlfriend and her little sister in with pleas of "They have nowhere to go!"  Also, I was dealing with some gnarly morning sickness at the time and the best way I found to combat it was to eat something salty first thing in the morning and then have small meals all day, along with staying hydrated.

I had to start hiding food because the guy would be up all night and was eating everything that wasn't nailed down.  Yeah, you guessed it. Meth addict.  ::)

I finally told DH "They are OUT, right now, I'm tired of this bs!" He finally saw that we were being used and the guy wasn't trying to get clean at all, he was still obviously using. DH didn't argue.  I kicked the jerk mooch out and he gave me some money. 

Finally, I thought, then I looked in the cigarette box he gave me. $9.  ::)
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hermanne

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Re: S/O Beggars, Moochers and Scammers
« Reply #12 on: October 10, 2012, 01:46:37 PM »
When I was single and had fewer expenses, my sister would call to borrow money, usually for groceries or $x.xx to pay a utility bill. Then I found out she was asking our mom for $x.xx to pay for the same bill! So mom and I told her to give us the phone and account numbers and we'd pay the bill directly.

Sis stopped asking us for money.
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exitzero

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Re: S/O Beggars, Moochers and Scammers
« Reply #13 on: October 10, 2012, 02:10:50 PM »
My boyfriend's friend is a bartender in a restaurant in Boston. Just this week, someone was going from table to table saying he was the manager and due to a shift change, he would have to take the check right now. Several people paid him or handed over their credit cards.

There was a tourist  who was suspicious, and he started questioning the "manager". The fake manager got nervous and tried to make a run for it.

The tourist yelled out for the bartender and they both grabbed the guy before he could make it very far, and the police arrested him.

weeblewobble

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Re: S/O Beggars, Moochers and Scammers
« Reply #14 on: October 10, 2012, 02:47:31 PM »
My boyfriend's friend is a bartender in a restaurant in Boston. Just this week, someone was going from table to table saying he was the manager and due to a shift change, he would have to take the check right now. Several people paid him or handed over their credit cards.

There was a tourist  who was suspicious, and he started questioning the "manager". The fake manager got nervous and tried to make a run for it.

The tourist yelled out for the bartender and they both grabbed the guy before he could make it very far, and the police arrested him.

That's scary!  Something to look out for while traveling!