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Be cautious of scammers at filling stations


ALL OF us have - at some point or another - encountered a beggar on a street corner or in a built-up area. It is our compassionate side that gives in and we give them some money to help them along their way. I don’t have a problem with this, but what I do have a problem with, is when scam artists use that compassionate side to rob us of our hard-earned money.

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.  

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Article written by Justin Jacobs
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Submitted: 19-02-2018
We had a similar case to this. A well presented guy and his "wife" pulled in after as at the Shell Garage just outside Harrismith. I did not get the whole story as he approached my husband and introduced himself. He asked if we are from Johannesburg or area and then his story was in the line of having left his wallet at home, they are on their way to Ballito (something about his mother in law) they need cash for petrol money and the toll gates. He even shows you his car is empty on fuel. He then offers a fake Tag Heuer watch to keep for him until he will phone you next week to return your money. He then gives you a missed call from his phone so that you have his number. We gave the guy R1000. After a week of not hearing from him, my husband phoned him from several numbers, but he never answers. I left the conversation to visit the ladies room and after, I asked my husband if he took photos of his vehicle and face, as this sounds like a scam. Who leaves home without a wallet - both husband and wife and how did they get through the other toll gates to Harrismith. The only info we have: White male and female, well dressed, he drives a new silver Mercedes with GP plates. We lost the money that's it, but I want to warn others not to fall victim to this couples scam. I cannot believe that someone can lie straight to your face like that without a hint of guilt on their conscience.