Tuesday, September 20, 2011

The Empty Gas Tank Scam

Watched a special on scamming on History Channel. I was disappointed. I expected it to be a documentary on the history of scamming, not a reality show of people falling victim to cons. It was interesting, but I wanted to know more about that Ponzi guy, more history about famous scams over the centuries, but they glazed right over it and returned to more candid camera sequences of real people getting taken. I didn’t want to watch that!

It did remind me of a couple times I got scammed. Back in Delaware I was pushing carts at work and a guy drove up to me, said he lived far away and he was running out of gas and needed money so he could make it home. He even pointed to his gas gauge and it was on empty. Me, being 19 and naïve and full of Christian zeal to help people, bought a protein bar on debit, got 20 cash back.

If I remember correctly, I gave it to him, told him God loves him, and watched him go. Out the corner of my eye I noticed he didn’t go to the gas station next door. He drove off somewhere else. That was suspicious, but it didn’t occur to me it was a scam at the time...

...until another person tried it! A second person, different car, but same story, showing me his gas tank on E, needed money. This time I was a little smarter, and I only gave five bucks or something like that just to see what he’d do with it. He didn’t drive to the gas station across the street. He got on the road and took a left into downtown. Passed three gas stations on his way. I knew then it was a scam. Plus, if you’re low on gas, why would you drive around on an empty tank? It was only to convince me they were telling the truth. So when a third person tried it, I said no.

People like that piss me off. They prey on people’s generosity and good will. It sure killed my desire to help people since odds are they’re scamming you, and that’s so sad. We can’t even trust people who need help. We must be suspicious of everyone and it makes the world more heartless and cynical when people take advantage of generosity and good nature. It’s no wonder to me there are so few good people in the world. We get taken, and we never want to help again because of the assholes who take advantage of it.

7 comments:

  1. So if a guy with a gas gauge pointing to E asks for money, it's a scam. What if it's a busty woman in a low cut dress asking for gas money? Is this also a scam?

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  2. It's a scam, too. The breasts are fake.

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  3. Hi, it just happend to me, good thing was i had no cash - bad thing was i was not sure if he was real or scam. But then he drove away in his fat pontiac. Now i am sure it was fake! You are so right, you can trust nearly nobody these times.

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    1. Glad I could help clear that up ! I'm almost embarrassed to admit I fell for it twice, but I really did want to help people. Sad to say scams like this just made me more closed to people in need because you never can know who needs help and who's just taking advantage of you.

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  4. A guy walked up to me on the street saying he was rushing a frat and as part of a prank his Porsche was out of gas in a no-parking zone and the police were going to tow it at a cost of $300 if he didn't get the $5 needed to buy a gas tank to refill his car... The obvious giveaway was that he first asked me "Do you know where the nearest gas station is? I need to buy a gas tank." But then later he magically knew that the gas tank would cost $20 and he needed $5 more to make the purchase. I didn't say this but at that point I though, "So... you don't know where a gas station is to buy a gas tank, but you know that at the next gas station you go to the tank will cost $20?"

    I then told him I had no cash on me and left. Pretty sad that people prey on generosity as you said. I had a nagging doubt at my choice the whole day since there was a SLIM chance that he genuinely needed help and that my stinginess cost him $300. However, after getting home and searching for empty gas tank scam online and seeing it was a common ruse, my fears were alleviated =)

    Unfortunately, though I was not scammed, next time a stranger needs my help, perhaps for real, I'll be too skeptical to lend aid.

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    1. Nope, you were not being stingy. You were doing the right thing and protecting yourself. If I were out of gas in a no-parking zone, my first instinct would be to push the car out of the zone first so it wouldn't get towed. I would not LEAVE the car alone.

      But you're right. What if they're telling the truth? Stupid shit like that really does happen. We never can tell, and that's a shame.

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