A few years ago, I came across a young man at a filling station in Pretoria who approached me and told me that he wasn’t a beggar. He introduced himself, was well dressed and well presented. He continued to tell me about how the ATM machine swallowed his bank card leaving him unable to draw money for fuel. He told me that his dad is a farmer and would be disappointed if he found out that he was asking for money. He asked me for some money for fuel, which I gave him. It was after this that another older man appeared. This fellow told me that the same guy was at the filling station, the day before, spinning a story about the fact that the ATM machine had swallowed his card and he needed money.
The young man denied that it was him but the older man mentioned facts about the young man’s story. I realized that it was a scam and demanded my money back. The younger guy became very agitated and started threatening me. Anyway, I got into my car and as I tried to leave, he tried to open my door. He was highly agitated and was looking for a fight, because I took the money back.
About a year or so later, I was at OR Tambo International when a familiar, well-dressed young man approached me; he said he wasn’t a beggar and that the ATM had swallowed his card. I immediately recognized him. He told me that his dad is a farmer and that I can phone him to confirm. He even pulled out a new iPhone to show me that he had money and that he wasn’t a beggar. I confronted him and explained to him that he had pulled this on me before; he denied my accusation. In a raised voice, I started telling him specifics, which got the attention of the police. The young scammer quickly scampered off.
They say lightning doesn’t strike twice in the same place, well how about three times? Just last week, I stopped at a filling station on Tom Jones Street in the East Rand and guess who came knocking on my window? Yes, the man with no money for fuel. I couldn’t believe my eyes! This guy still didn’t remember me. I got out of my car and let him continue with his story. He told me that the ATM machine had swallowed his card and he needed money to get back home. He told me that his dad is a farmer. He drew my attention to his R1 899 pair of shoes and his iPhone, convincing me that he wasn’t a beggar. He told me that his name was Hennie. I asked him if he remembered me and he said he didn’t. I told him that I remember him and I remember his story. I made a big scene at the filling station. I called him out on his lies, which got the attention of the people at the filling station. He backed away and quickly left the area.
I just want to caution everyone… this guy and others like him are professional scam artists. They spin you a story that tugs at your heart strings; they present themselves in such a way that you just have to believe them, then, they take your money and move on to the next kind-hearted person. They can also get pushy and persistent.
If someone like this approaches you and starts spinning you this story or one similar, call them out on it. They move across Gauteng making money off the hard-working public. Unfortunately, we live in a time where people will do and say anything to get and take whatever it is you have, without a shred of integrity.