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  #21  
Old 09.06.2011, 17:24
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Re: Scam? Woman "lost" tickets, stuck, etc.

On a more serious note. I know of a story, that took place in China roughly 5-6 years ago. A US citizen was a teacher there and employed at a dodgy school. The working environment got uncomfortable and as far as I can remember, he wanted to leave as he was fearing for his life. He made some distressed phone calls back home etc. They found him dead...apparently, he was struck on the head with a blunt object...the authorities claim it was a traffic accident. If you google the story..his name is Darren Russel...and it is a sad story. However, the next time somebody is asking you for help...don't just turn away, but rather try to analyze the situation, and see whether that person is really in need of help. You never know, maybe you could save a life.
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  #22  
Old 09.06.2011, 17:45
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Re: Scam? Woman "lost" tickets, stuck, etc.

this is why i memorize by VISA details. most of the time you can pay without having it swiped if you have the name on the card, number, expiry date and code on the bank.

once in the UK, I just walked into my bank and asked to withdraw money without any ID, just gave them my bank account number and sort code - it took the best part of half an hour, but i got it.
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Old 09.06.2011, 17:53
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Re: Scam? Woman "lost" tickets, stuck, etc.

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And, I often sing our national anthem while holding bags of brown sugar, while walking about town.
Are you also the guy who got beat up by an elderly lady?

That could explain why....

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  #24  
Old 09.06.2011, 18:07
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Re: Scam? Woman "lost" tickets, stuck, etc.

Think I just got approached by the same lady. Loewenplatz, she was around 30 and dark hair, big chested.....asked if I spoke French by asking in English (no) and got the same story explained in English. I guess she asked if i spoke French then if she doesn't then she wouldn't get caught out.

She didn't get far with the story before I said I couldn't help as iwas convinced it was a scam too. I too checked for my wallet afterwards!
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Old 09.06.2011, 18:09
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Re: Scam? Woman "lost" tickets, stuck, etc.

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However, the next time somebody is asking you for help...don't just turn away, but rather try to analyze the situation, and see whether that person is really in need of help..
Whilst walking home in the U.K, I was stopped by an American woman in a car who gave me a sob story that she needed money for petrol as she had no money because her handbag had been stolen.

I listened attentively and with compassion up to the point where she mentioned the stolen handbag. You should have heard her swear when I pointed out that it was lying on the passenger seat next to her.

If you're going to scam, get everything ready first!

I did call the police when I got home (to stop her harassing someone more vulnerable than me) and I gave a description they said, "Oh no, not her again!"
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  #26  
Old 09.06.2011, 18:13
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Re: Scam? Woman "lost" tickets, stuck, etc.

I was approached one evening last summer by a gentleman from the Indian sub continent who regaled me with a long tale about how he and his sister somehow left their cases on the train along with all their money and documents and now they had no money for a hotel in Zurich.

The fact that his sister was nowhere to be seen, that his story changed with each telling and that he was some 3Km from Zurich's main station made me suspicious. Also he did not seem to recall whether he had reported the lost of baggage to the railway office or not.

In the end I concluded this was a rather poorly thought-through way of begging and said I had no cash on me. He suggested that I could pop to the nearest cash dispenser and resolve that situation. That's when the conversation ended...
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  #27  
Old 09.06.2011, 18:14
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Re: Scam? Woman "lost" tickets, stuck, etc.

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If you're going to scam, get everything ready first!
Thanks for the tip
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  #28  
Old 09.06.2011, 18:25
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Re: Scam? Woman "lost" tickets, stuck, etc.

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I was approached one evening last summer by a gentleman from the Indian sub continent who regaled me with a long tale about how he and his sister somehow left their cases on the train along with all their money and documents and now they had no money for a hotel in Zurich.

The fact that his sister was nowhere to be seen, that his story changed with each telling and that he was some 3Km from Zurich's main station made me suspicious. Also he did not seem to recall whether he had reported the lost of baggage to the railway office or not.

In the end I concluded this was a rather poorly thought-through way of begging and said I had no cash on me. He suggested that I could pop to the nearest cash dispenser and resolve that situation. That's when the conversation ended...
"good idea. just wait here and i'll be back in 5 minutes!"
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  #29  
Old 09.06.2011, 18:35
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Re: Scam? Woman "lost" tickets, stuck, etc.

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"good idea. just wait here and i'll be back in 5 minutes!"
A friend and I did that in India once to a gentlemen dressed in a very smart suit with quite an elaborate scam.

We said we couldn't meet him in five minutes with the money as it would take longer to get but we would that evening. We (not him) suggested a meeting point (on the other side of the city) and a suitable time.

We're not sure whether he turned up or not (as we certainly didn't).
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  #30  
Old 09.06.2011, 18:57
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Re: Scam? Woman "lost" tickets, stuck, etc.

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Question. If you really were stuck away from home having lost your wallet in Switzerland how do you get home again (assuming you are resident here)? Can the SBB offices issue an emergecy ticket which you pay for later or do you just chance your luck on the train?
Get on the train, tell them you lost your wallet with your money / tickets etc, they'll write you out the usual 80 CHF fine which will bump down to 5 CHF "moron tax" when you produce the lost GA / police report / etc

Although when this happened to me, they took my address and checked I really did have a GA, and then explained what they should do, and (unusually) didn't do it and let me off.
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  #31  
Old 09.06.2011, 19:24
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Re: Scam? Woman "lost" tickets, stuck, etc.

Exactly the same story for my bil in the train from Milan to Rome the other day. He was nearly drawn into the 'story' but my sil talked sense into him.
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  #32  
Old 09.06.2011, 20:55
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Re: Scam? Woman "lost" tickets, stuck, etc.

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On a more serious note. I know of a story, that took place in China roughly 5-6 years ago. A US citizen was a teacher there and employed at a dodgy school. The working environment got uncomfortable and as far as I can remember, he wanted to leave as he was fearing for his life. He made some distressed phone calls back home etc. They found him dead...apparently, he was struck on the head with a blunt object...the authorities claim it was a traffic accident. If you google the story..his name is Darren Russel...and it is a sad story. However, the next time somebody is asking you for help...don't just turn away, but rather try to analyze the situation, and see whether that person is really in need of help. You never know, maybe you could save a life.
Here is a link to the aforementioned story.
http://www.officer.com/article/10248...n-china?page=1

What if he came to you distraught, in need of help..and you just turned away?


(Please don't turn this into a US or China bashing thread)

Last edited by lost_inbroad; 09.06.2011 at 21:06.
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  #33  
Old 09.06.2011, 21:10
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Re: Scam? Woman "lost" tickets, stuck, etc.

An American without a credit card, unlikely.
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  #34  
Old 09.06.2011, 21:11
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Re: Scam? Woman "lost" tickets, stuck, etc.

Same ruse - different country. A couple with a child approached me with a similar sob story in HKG on a cold winter night (money/passports stolen) and need money for a hotel that night. Even topped up their story by lugging a SMALL suitcase (size of a hand carry) - yea right, for a family of 3.

Needless to say, I didnt give them a single cent and directed them to the nearest police station. Most disturbing is that they were dragging a child along on their scams - and all it takes is for one or two softies (and numpties) to believe their stories, give them money and they'll be encouraged to keep scamming people.

In my first year in Zurich, had one girl approach me inside the ZH HB once, saying that she lost her wallet and asking for change so that she could have enough to take the train. She showed me a handful of coins saying that she was just 2CHF short for a ticket home. Being the paranoid person that I am, thinking that her accomplice will come out and snatch my wallet once I've taken it out, I just blurted out "no speak German" and walked away quickly. I mean, if you really lost your wallet, wouldnt you have used the money in your hands to call a family member?

LIB is right about analysing the situation though - no matter how sceptical I am, a part of me, when I do walk away wonders if I could have helped more, and felt bad for not doing so <----sucker
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  #35  
Old 09.06.2011, 21:20
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Re: Scam? Woman "lost" tickets, stuck, etc.

As always, context is everything.

Let's not harden our hearts to everyone who approaches us, but let us not be made mugs of either.

I've only given money to a stranger once in Switzerland: a dreadlocked, grubby beggar approached me outside Zurich HB with a request for money. I answered him in Greek, telling him that I didn't understand German. He replied in better Greek than mine, explaining that he was desperate and hungry. I couldn't really argue with that!

He left with 20 francs, and a lot more respect than I'd intended to give him...
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  #36  
Old 09.06.2011, 21:31
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Re: Scam? Woman "lost" tickets, stuck, etc.

I did have something happen to me once which made me thankful that some people are charitable. One time, stupidly, I went for a bicycle ride down the Lake, it was just meant to be a quick 40k spin after work. I stupidly brought no money. On the way back about 15k from home, something got wrapped into my rear deraileur and the deraileur ripped off the bike (not being an agile bike mechanic), I walked to the nearest train station and started begging people for money so I could get train fare (a nice woman gave me 10 francs and I promised to send her the money, I later texted her my email but she said it was okay not to send her money), but it was very difficult to ask people for money and people were skeptical, even though my story seemed legit having a bike, etc. etc.

I suppose i could have just ridden home black and explained the situation to the conductor. It did not occur to me at the time.

The morale of the story is, sometimes people have legit reasons for needing money (though it was stupid to leave the house without money).
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  #37  
Old 09.06.2011, 22:30
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Re: Scam? Woman "lost" tickets, stuck, etc.

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There is an office at some trainstations, that offers help in case you're stranded. At Zurich HB, the office is on the first level down the escalator right next to the toilets.
Thanks LIB - I'll have these printed out and hand them out whenever the next person asks me for cash at the Bahnhof.
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  #38  
Old 09.06.2011, 22:58
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Re: Scam? Woman "lost" tickets, stuck, etc.

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In my first year in Zurich, had one girl approach me inside the ZH HB once, saying that she lost her wallet and asking for change so that she could have enough to take the train. She showed me a handful of coins saying that she was just 2CHF short for a ticket home. Being the paranoid person that I am, thinking that her accomplice will come out and snatch my wallet once I've taken it out, I just blurted out "no speak German" and walked away quickly. I mean, if you really lost your wallet, wouldnt you have used the money in your hands to call a family member?
We were on a boat the other day and I thought my wife had enough money and she thought I had enough money and, they didn't take cards. We managed to pay with a mixture of 5 and 10 rappen coins and a couple of euro notes which cleaned us out.
It was only afterwards that we realised that we should have paid for our eldest child as well - and we didn't have enough money for that.

I'm sure we would have been successful (and rather embarrassed) to borrow a few francs from one of the other passengers on the ferry.

Context is everything.

If I was stuck without transport and no cash, I wouldn't head for the railway station to get home. I'd head for the nearest road to the motorway going in my direction and hitch a lift home.
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  #39  
Old 09.06.2011, 23:08
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Re: Scam? Woman "lost" tickets, stuck, etc.

Wasn't this very scam immortalized in an email format in recent times? If she were a Yank on holiday with a bank card, she'd be on the phone to family to wire money or to the bank in a New York minute.

...and after rummaging around in my inbox, voilá, the 'My predicament!' email scam:

"I'm writing this with tears in my eyes,my fam and I came down here to London,England for a short vacation, unfortunately we were mugged at the park of the hotel where we stayed all cash,credit card and cell were stolen off us but luckily for us we still have our passports with us.

We've been to the embassy and the Police here but they're not helping issues at all and our flight leaves in less than 3hrs from now but we're having problems settling the hotel bills and the hotel manager won't let us leave until we settle the bills...."

Definitely a scam.

Last edited by poptart; 09.06.2011 at 23:21.
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  #40  
Old 09.06.2011, 23:43
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Re: Scam? Woman "lost" tickets, stuck, etc.

I'm so dumb I got caught by this in Amsterdam a few years ago. British guy, lost passport, stolen money etc. Gave him £20 and my business card so he could repay me when he got home.

Realised less than 2 minutes later I'd been scammed when a rather ropey looking woman came up and said "You didn't give him money, did you?" Me: "Yes". Her: "How much?" Me:"£20". Her: "Bloody hell. Jammy bastard. He'll make more than me today".

Lesson learnt!

Reminds me of a plaque I used to have on my desk "Never do anybody a favour because instead of seeing it as a kindness to be reciprocated they'll see it as a weakness to be exploited".
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