Beware the unscrupulous scammers ripping off Richmond residents warns Tony Malcolm
Us Richmond folk are generous to a fault.
And probably these are faults we have to seriously reconsider in the light of scammers who are preying on our better natures.
Just walking out of Richmond station we all have to run the gauntlet of chuggers, chancers and downright charlatans.
I was told recently by a Richmond resident about how she was approached at her car window whilst in traffic on Lower Church Road, by a well-dressed lady who seemed in distress.
A tale of woe ensued about how she had tried to start her car in the nearby car park only to find she had run out of petrol. She’d been to a petrol station with a lemonade bottle to fill, but they wouldn’t allow her to use the pump unless she bought one of their five litre petrol carriers.
The woman’s sob story continued about how she’d come out without her bag or cards, but if an amount of cash could be lent, she would return the money by paypal and she even took the mobile number to enable her to pay it.
In writing this, there are immediate holes in the story that I hope would have set off alarm bells with me. I am also hoping I’d have had the temerity, audacity even, to laugh and raise the electric window with an exasperated look to the heavens.
The fact is, the victim of this elaborate hoax had checked the storyteller up and down to see she looked totally plausible, the shoes in particular being of a quality that confirmed she can’t possibly be anything other than genuine.
A crisp twenty was peeled out and handed to the very grateful woman who promised to return it as soon as possible. I don’t need to tell you this amount was never repaid as this woman had no intention to pay and definitely was no pal.
Now hindsight is a wonderful thing and I witnessed the self-admonishment and mental flagellation the victim subjected herself to for being so flagrantly duped.
She had only weeks previously before been the target of a woman crying in a most convincing manner outside the station who once again managed to coax some cash out of her purse with a quite harrowing story.
Not only are these unscrupulous scammers ripping off our residents, possibly in organised crime gangs, they are making us suspicious of even the worthy and more needy charities.
They are knocking on our doors, blocking our progress on the high streets, playing on our heartstrings and targetting us online with ever more sophisticated ways to extract money from our coffers.
Like a flock of vultures, they have descended on our town for the easy pickings. Well it’s time to toughen up people. If you’re relieved of your liquid assets on false pretences, once you reflect on your gullibility, the fallout can lead to substantial mental turmoil.
Especially if you choose not to share your experience with others for shame of being fleeced so easily. That can fester and the bigger the sum you hand over, the worse the suffering can be.
Send us your scammer stories, anonymously if you like, so we can share experiences, exorcise them, and warn others of stories and methods to watch out for in the next edition.
Informing the Police of illegal practices is always a good idea and they will be on the lookout for the fraudsters, but these people are taking this to almost professional levels of competence and finding them, let alone prosecuting them and getting money back is virtually impossible.
Fortified as I hope you now are to build a crustier outer shell, keep your wits about you to keep these interlopers’s at bay, whilst retaining your beautiful better nature and keeping your hard earned cash in your pockets.