Thursday, April 26, 2012
Several years ago, I learned of two people who were victims of the same scam. The con artist, Rosie, worked as a waitress at a local restaurant and I believe she was a member of the group known as "The Irish Travelers".
The first person who told me about the scam had actually suggested that I request the particular waitress to be my server when I went to the restaurant because she was the "best" waitress she'd ever known.
One day, the customer opened her door to find Rosie there, crying. Rosie told her that her utilities were ready to be turned off and that she was behind on her mortgage, car payment, etc. and she had her grandchild at home. Rosie asked the customer to loan her money and she showed her a picture of a house in Florida that was being sold and said that she said she would be getting a check from there soon and she would be able to pay her back with interest. Somehow, Rosie was able to get $5,000 from this person! I asked the obvious question: "Have you gone to the police?" The answer was no, because by the time she realized she'd been duped, the waitress couldn't be found, her address in town was phony, and she'd left her job without notice and besides, she was too embarrassed to report it.
The second person, whom I knew only slightly, called me and told me that she was trying to find a waitress who had worked at a local restaurant and she'd been told she'd gone to another restaurant where a Raypole was the Manager. I gave her the telephone number. I asked, "You probably don't want to tell me, but is the waitress named Rosie and she came to you with a hard-luck story and that she had a house in Florida?" The woman said, "Yes, were you a victim too?" I said, "No, but you're the second person who has told me this story." This woman then told me that she and her husband went to the restaurant regularly and when Rosie came to her home, the woman gave her only $2,000 with the proviso that Rosie must come there to work off the debt. Of course, Rosie agreed. Little did the woman know, but Rosie waited for the woman to leave and came back and accosted the husband, who gave her $3,000! Can you imagine the nerve? When Rosie did not show up to work at the couple's business, the husband and wife returned to the restaurant and Rosie was no longer there; when they inquired they were told she went to another restaurant. That wasn't true. The couple were also too embarrassed to go to the police.
I wonder how many Rosie was able to con before moving to another locale or was her goal just $10,000? Rosie had an Irish surname.
Why do people so willingly divulge personal information to complete strangers? I have the reputation of "interviewing" everyone with whom I come in contact. I do it because I'm interested in people. As I said to the first person who was scammed, "She found out EVERYTHING she needed about you: she knew what kind of car you drive, where you live, how many kids you have and that you live alone and she knew you were a generous tipper, so she knew you had disposable income." Both of the victims couldn't believe they had been taken! I said, "They're clever and they know their marks!"
That same year I had answered my door and a man asked if he could repair our roof. He handed me a business card which showed he was "insured and bonded". However, the phone number was not a local number. Having family in Florida, I recognized the number as one from Florida. I had no plan of using him, but I'll admit, I wanted to "play" with him! I said, "I see you're from Florida." He said that he was up here now but he hadn't changed his phone! I asked where his business was located and he said they rented a storage unit for their tools. I asked where he lived and he gave me an address! I asked for references from other people they'd serviced and he actually gave me a list; of course, none were local!
I told him I would call him back after I'd checked the references. Instead, I called the police and took the card to them.
Yes, he had an IRISH surname!
CLICK HERE to read a blog article entitled "Abbreviated History of the Irish Travelers."