Broken Car Scam: How It Works
Being a Good Samaritan offers a lot of benefits. You get to help someone out who is in need. Especially if they're outside and the temperature is -22. This makes you feel good and represents a huge boost to your self-esteem. And maybe you earn a few good karma points as well. But what happens when the target of your assistance is a scammer?
The holiday season brings out the best in peoples' generosity and compassion. Unfortunately, this brings a lot of scammers out of the woodwork, and the Broken Car scam is the direct result. It occurs a lot nowadays in the colder states. How does this scam work?
The con artist approaches someone on the street and asks for help. He says that his car is broken down a block away, but he has no money to get it towed to a shop. He respectfully asks the victim for some cash – usually in the $20 to $40 range – to pay for the tow. Then procceds to guarantee the victim that will pay back, providing his cell phone number as "collateral" for the payment so he can be reached for reimbursement.
The cell number is an out of service number, and the victim never gets reimbursed. Scammers get away with making hundreds dollars a day.
Broken Car Scam: How To Avoid
Many people are taken in by this scam because deep down most are compassionate and generous. If you are approached by someone wanting to borrow money for a tow truck, tell them you will use your cell phone number to call the tow service. Then wait with them, and pay the tow truck driver yourself.
If they are legitimately a person in distress, they appreciate the gesture. If they try to convince you about doing it themselves and reimbursing you later, you are looking at a scammer indeed.
Be sure to contact the local police to let them know the area in which the scammer is working his or her con so that they may be able to locate the person and prevent them from scamming others.
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