Thanksgiving Day gas station clever scam.

This is a discussion on Thanksgiving Day gas station clever scam. within the Home (And Away From Home) Defense Discussion forums, part of the Related Topics category; I read quite a few stories here about members getting approached by strangers in a parking lot or gas stations. It happens and has happened ...

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    Thanksgiving Day gas station clever scam.

    I read quite a few stories here about members getting approached by strangers in a parking lot or gas stations. It happens and has happened to me before. Sometimes it develops into something serious, but mostly it is essentially a "begging for money" scam issue. I try to handle these initially with "defuse" and "distance". While I might like to tell them to "get lost" or "get a job, loser", but not knowing their mental state, I think it's very wise not to. No need in escalating a situation because I overloaded my mouth.

    We (wife & FIL) were headed home last night after spending Thanksgiving with our out-of-town kids. On the way back about 6:30 pm, we stopped for gas/restroom stop at a convenience store/gas pump that we typically use when we travel. Pretty clean, well-lighted, right off the interstate, never had any issues. Mostly just travelers like ourselves.

    Naturally it was pretty busy with travelers headed home. My passengers went inside while I gassed up. While fueling I heard some banging (metal against metal) nearby and looked that direction. It was a Ford LTD that was at the pump in front of me. The guy was laying on the pavement using a large open end wrench and was banging on the underside of his car. As soon as I looked that way, he was looking directly at me and as soon as I looked at him he used his hand to make a "gun" and pointed it at his car, as if he were frustrated and wanted to shoot his car. Hmmmm?

    Just to paint a mental image of the guy, he was a WM, 6+', 220, mid 40's+, male pattern baldness, dressed neat, but casual. His car was tan, and none of this makes much difference other than the car was not a beater, and the guy was not grubby looking (whatever that might mean to someone).

    It was obvious to me that he was beating on the car to get my attention since his eyes met mine so fast, he was obviously waiting for me to react to the sounds he was making. I just sort of acknowledged him and went about my business at-hand. Though with SA up a notch. He gets up from the pavement, and walks around his car as if he were in a rush, but stays near his car and tells me from distance, his fuel filter is stopped up and can't go much more than 20 mph. He was hitting it with the wrench hoping to unstop it a bit. By the sound I was certain he was just hitting the cars chassis and not a fuel filter. He says he doesn't have any money, but would be willing to sell me something, though he never offered anything (and not that I was biting). He tells me all it needs is a $11.05 fuel filter from WM. How many people would know the exact price? I tell him to just drive slowly over to WM and buy one with a credit card. He said he had a credit card but it was in his son's truck. Yeah right. At that point, a van pulled in for fuel nearby and he apparently went over to them to talk to them, but I noted he wasn't there long. Apparently got a quick "NO".

    He comes back, lays down on the opposite side of the car and beats on the chassis again, telling me if he could just get a few bucks then he could his filter replaced and keep going. I told him we were traveling on a corporate credit card and didn't carry cash either. DEFUSE I wished him good luck DEFUSED AGAIN and backed up to the convenient store to pick up my passengers. DISTANCE

    He never was or acted a threat, or any sort of intimidation/strong arm tactics. Nothing. He was needing some money. His story was pretty well thought out but not without some flaws.
    Turn the election's in 2014 to a "2A Revolution". It will serve as a 1994 refresher not to "infringe" on our Second Amendment. We know who they are now.........SEND 'EM HOME. Our success in this will be proportional to how hard we work to make it happen.

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    It pains me to think that people in this day and age will travel without the financial ability to pay for unexpected troubles and extra expenditures that may happen as they get from point A to point B.

    If someone really can't afford gas, or something breaking down, stay home!

    You handled it well, and as graceful as could be expected.
    Hopefully when I meet my next "troubled roadside traveler" it will go like this.
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    Member Array Macantic's Avatar
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    On another note: when I sell something on "craigslist" I can't understand why some/most people show up to pick up the goods they are not prepared. They ask for tape,packing paper,rope,blankets...etc. (and if it's raining) a tarp,and don't bring any help to move a heavy object.
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    Quote Originally Posted by oneshot View Post
    It pains me to think that people in this day and age will travel without the financial ability to pay for unexpected troubles and extra expenditures that may happen as they get from point A to point B.

    If someone really can't afford gas, or something breaking down, stay home!
    I've been in his shoes. When I was about 20, I was working, and barely making enough to get back and forth to work,pay rent (renting a small closet-sized bedroom in a townhouse for $300/mo) and eat once every day or two, and still afford my medications (diabetic) I have run out of gas half way home before and had to call a friend. Staying home isn't an option, and not everybody is apparently as well to do as you seem to be. Try to be a little less judgemental. Of all of the places I've lived, DC was the only one that had any real sort of public transit, too. A lot of people have little other choice. Have you seen this country's economy lately? Unemployment rates that don't account for those who've just given up, or those not collecting unemployment checks but still looking for work? It's not pretty.

    Thankfully I'm not in that position anymore, but I can understand it.
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    Quote Originally Posted by ppkheat View Post
    The guy was laying on the pavement using a large open end wrench and was banging on the underside of his car.

    ... and tells me from distance, his fuel filter is stopped up and can't go much more than 20 mph.

    He says he doesn't have any money, but would be willing to sell me something, though he never offered anything (and not that I was biting). He tells me all it needs is a $11.05 fuel filter from WM.
    He had two problems, apparently. A wonky fuel filter (or chassis, if the banging sounds were any indication); and no funds, no means of getting funds.

    At least he offered to sell something. But if just traveling around, it's not as though a person's going to have much to sell, short of a wedding ring, jacket or shoes perhaps, unless fencing items from the car.

    A phone call would have been cheaper, for him.

    Interesting twist on the same old spiel, it seems. I give the guy an "A" for creativity, and an "A" for keeping his distance and his attitude zipped up nicely. Might have been a legitimate need. But then, if so, why didn't he simply go inside, have his son/whomever buy a fuel filter nearby and arrange to get it to him? Didn't have a son or the phone number, as well?? Things that make you go "Hmmmm."
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    Quote Originally Posted by GlassWolf View Post
    I've been in his shoes. When I was about 20, I was working, and barely making enough to get back and forth to work,pay rent (renting a small closet-sized bedroom in a townhouse for $300/mo) and eat once every day or two, and still afford my medications (diabetic) I have run out of gas half way home before and had to call a friend. Staying home isn't an option, and not everybody is apparently as well to do as you seem to be. Try to be a little less judgemental. Of all of the places I've lived, DC was the only one that had any real sort of public transit, too. A lot of people have little other choice. Have you seen this country's economy lately? Unemployment rates that don't account for those who've just given up, or those not collecting unemployment checks but still looking for work? It's not pretty.

    Thankfully I'm not in that position anymore, but I can understand it.

    ^I am not well to do^^^^^

    I may be better off than some, but that's about it.

    What I mean is, if you can't afford to go 100,200,300 miles for vacation, or to visit for the holidays, make a wise judgment call, and stay home, and wait for the next time around, and save the money.

    How do you run out of money half way home?

    All you do is figure how many MPG your vehicle gets, then figure what you'll pay per gallon and then determine if you have enough to cover it.
    Same as with breaking down.
    For a repair such as that, Fuel filter, how can you not be able to cover the $12?
    If you want to make God laugh, tell him your plans.

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    This guy had "the look" as if he should have had his act together. However, he didn't have a cell phone? He didn't ask to borrow mine so he could call his son, or family, or friend? I even asked him was he "local", and he gave me a real vague answer about that.

    I don't think there was anything wrong with his chassis, or his fuel filter. I wouldn't doubt that he may have been a little short on cash for a potential dope buy.
    Turn the election's in 2014 to a "2A Revolution". It will serve as a 1994 refresher not to "infringe" on our Second Amendment. We know who they are now.........SEND 'EM HOME. Our success in this will be proportional to how hard we work to make it happen.

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    Wow, an LTD? didn't Ford stop making them in the 70s or 80s? That would have been a classic. Glad all turned out positive with your encounter. Ya done good.
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    I've been in the OPs spot and the guy w/the bad part as well but mostly that was when I was much much younger like 30-40 years ago.

    I'm one of those guys that when traveling to Rendezvous or Barter Faire's I carry enuf moolah. Then I got some emergency $$ for whatever sideways event might befall me.
    Basically if I can't take five hundred bucks I ain't going. Simple as that. I used to would leave home after loading and checking everything THREE TIMES. By then it might be 10 or 11PM. Then half hour locking up and securing NNVille. When I'm finally satisfied I hit the road Jack. When leaving late at night I normally threw a jerry can w/5G gas on the back for small town refueling. I pulled into George Washington once (yes it's a REAL TOWN). The Chevron station was closed when I pulled up near dawn. Ten minutes later I had 100 more miles range and plenty till the next open gas station.
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    Quote Originally Posted by oldnfat View Post
    Wow, an LTD? didn't Ford stop making them in the 70s or 80s? That would have been a classic. Glad all turned out positive with your encounter. Ya done good.

    Good catch! I truly meant a Crown Vic. My FIL had an LTD long ago, and we had been talking about it just a few hours before re-fueling. That old "LTD" jumped in to sub for the Crown Vic in my mind, and my fingers didn't catch it. Thanks
    Turn the election's in 2014 to a "2A Revolution". It will serve as a 1994 refresher not to "infringe" on our Second Amendment. We know who they are now.........SEND 'EM HOME. Our success in this will be proportional to how hard we work to make it happen.

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    Quote Originally Posted by oneshot View Post
    ^I am not well to do^^^^^

    I may be better off than some, but that's about it.

    What I mean is, if you can't afford to go 100,200,300 miles for vacation, or to visit for the holidays, make a wise judgment call, and stay home, and wait for the next time around, and save the money.

    How do you run out of money half way home?

    All you do is figure how many MPG your vehicle gets, then figure what you'll pay per gallon and then determine if you have enough to cover it.
    Same as with breaking down.
    For a repair such as that, Fuel filter, how can you not be able to cover the $12?
    totally, yeah I wouldn't go on a vacation without enough money to cover unexpected things. I agree 100%. I thought you meant he shouldn't even be driving a car if he can't afford having it break down. Ideally I even agree with that, it's just sadly unrealistic. I forgot to mention, I wouldn't have asked a stranger for anything more than a cell call for help if I didn't have a phone, though. I have gotten rides to a gas station before when my car has failed in the middle of nowhere or on a highway, but that's a bit different and it was before cell phones.. (well.. we had bag phones, but nobody could afford one haha)
    I am free because I know that I alone am morally responsible for everything I do. I am free, no matter what rules surround me. If I find them tolerable, I tolerate them; if I find them too obnoxious, I break them. I am free because I know that I alone am morally responsible for everything I do.

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    Quote Originally Posted by ppkheat View Post
    I read quite a few stories here about members getting approached by strangers in a parking lot or gas stations. It happens and has happened to me before. Sometimes it develops into something serious, but mostly it is essentially a "begging for money" scam issue. I try to handle these initially with "defuse" and "distance". While I might like to tell them to "get lost" or "get a job, loser", but not knowing their mental state, I think it's very wise not to. No need in escalating a situation because I overloaded my mouth.

    We (wife & FIL) were headed home last night after spending Thanksgiving with our out-of-town kids. On the way back about 6:30 pm, we stopped for gas/restroom stop at a convenience store/gas pump that we typically use when we travel. Pretty clean, well-lighted, right off the interstate, never had any issues. Mostly just travelers like ourselves.

    Naturally it was pretty busy with travelers headed home. My passengers went inside while I gassed up. While fueling I heard some banging (metal against metal) nearby and looked that direction. It was a Ford LTD that was at the pump in front of me. The guy was laying on the pavement using a large open end wrench and was banging on the underside of his car. As soon as I looked that way, he was looking directly at me and as soon as I looked at him he used his hand to make a "gun" and pointed it at his car, as if he were frustrated and wanted to shoot his car. Hmmmm?

    Just to paint a mental image of the guy, he was a WM, 6+', 220, mid 40's+, male pattern baldness, dressed neat, but casual. His car was tan, and none of this makes much difference other than the car was not a beater, and the guy was not grubby looking (whatever that might mean to someone).

    It was obvious to me that he was beating on the car to get my attention since his eyes met mine so fast, he was obviously waiting for me to react to the sounds he was making. I just sort of acknowledged him and went about my business at-hand. Though with SA up a notch. He gets up from the pavement, and walks around his car as if he were in a rush, but stays near his car and tells me from distance, his fuel filter is stopped up and can't go much more than 20 mph. He was hitting it with the wrench hoping to unstop it a bit. By the sound I was certain he was just hitting the cars chassis and not a fuel filter. He says he doesn't have any money, but would be willing to sell me something, though he never offered anything (and not that I was biting). He tells me all it needs is a $11.05 fuel filter from WM. How many people would know the exact price? I tell him to just drive slowly over to WM and buy one with a credit card. He said he had a credit card but it was in his son's truck. Yeah right. At that point, a van pulled in for fuel nearby and he apparently went over to them to talk to them, but I noted he wasn't there long. Apparently got a quick "NO".

    He comes back, lays down on the opposite side of the car and beats on the chassis again, telling me if he could just get a few bucks then he could his filter replaced and keep going. I told him we were traveling on a corporate credit card and didn't carry cash either. DEFUSE I wished him good luck DEFUSED AGAIN and backed up to the convenient store to pick up my passengers. DISTANCE

    He never was or acted a threat, or any sort of intimidation/strong arm tactics. Nothing. He was needing some money. His story was pretty well thought out but not without some flaws.
    I'm not saying you did wrong BUT! on crown vics, they don't take the plastic clear fuel filters that you can see the yellow paper filter. Crown Vics take the metal looking fuel filter, very similar to this:




    That could have been the noise you were hearing and if it wasen't, the fuel filter on the crown vics are below the passenger side undercarriage close to the frame. I know how much fuel filters cost because I used to work at my pop's auto repair shop. Now I'm not saying that he was totally honest but if I were in that position, I would phone a friend first using your cellphone if you would let me. If not, I would not be persistent and move on to the next person.

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    I tell panhandlers that I only have two dollars and am hoping to get something to eat with it. They usually move on. If not that is when I proceed to try and out perform them with a hard luck story. And wish them luck. Salt lake seems to have more panhandlers than ever. One of the local news stations investigates them from time to time often finding out they have extensive criminal records. Often they are meth addicts. Sad yes but there is no way I am giving money to some nut case druggie with few or no teeth.

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    Two points to make...

    Glad that you and yours are safe...

    And you are much friendlier than I would be, I would not want ANY interaction after my request to be left alone right from the beginning...
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    I'm retired from NYPD and I still look at every person in the street as a possible perp/threat. It's just a habit you pick up from the job. In NYC you can't walk down the block without 3 people asking you for money. It would happen while I was in uniform, too. If I gave everybody $$$ that asked me, I would be broke. There are a LOT of professional beggars and some people have some good sob stories. We had several "Homeless" people in my Pct that were retired teachers, building superintendents and other good jobs. They had their pensions direct deposited to their bank, but they still walked around asking for money in the streets. I would look the person straight in the eye and calmly tell them "no". That usually worked 99% of the time. If they kept asking or became even slightly aggressive, then I would turn the tables and I would become the aggressor and really tell them "No". That always ended the discussion.---Sturgis
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