Watch: Gold ring/out of gas scammer tries to con someone who knows better

Originally published at: Watch: Gold ring/out of gas scammer tries to con someone who knows better | Boing Boing


Genius idea: run your short con out of an easily identified venue that has a prominent government-issued license bolted to it.

Like I occasionally tell phone scammers when I’m messing with them, if you’re going to be a scumbag petty criminal at least put some effort into being a competent one.


So, he chases after the two scammers. What’s he hoping for if he catches them?


When I used to regularly drive around the Chicago area, I would occasionally run into these scams. But it was never a nice car, it was also a Family with kids in the car and they were out of gas. The husband would be standing by the car (stopped at an intersection) holding a 2 gallon gas can asking for money. I never gave them money, I always offered to either take the gas can and fill it for them, or I would take them to the nearest gas station to get the gas. They ALWAYS declined. ALWAYS. Then I would waste their time by asking what they really wanted if they did not want the gas. Then the cursing would start and sometimes they guy would say he was “gonna call the cops on me” (?) Sometimes they would drive away rather than have a discussion in the middle of the street and attract attention.

The best one of these “I need money and gotta get home” scams was a guy that came to my shop door. He needed money for bus fare to get to Peoria to see his grandmother. He knew the bus schedule. It was leaving soon. He was good.
So I offered to get him a bus ticket, and told him to get in my truck and I would take him to the Greyhound Station that was not far away. Oddly enough he got in my truck and off we went. Then we parked and we waited in line to buy the ticket while he said “You don’t have to do this, just give me the money and I can buy the ticket”. I insisted on buying the ticket, the bus was leaving very soon, I watched him reluctantly GET ON THE BUS and waited until it left. He sure seemed unhappy for a guy that just got everything he wanted.


Adding to my above post:
I’ve seen so many of the same lazy street scams over time that I no longer engage with them. But if I encounter a new one, or one that seems to have some work put into it, I’m all over it.

I’ll PAY to see what happens if I take time and spend some money to make whatever it is they are asking for into reality. What’s the worst that can happen? They were telling the truth and now they are safe?


When they show that kind of commitment and talent and I have the time and inclination I’ll put some time and money into it for the entertainment value after confirming they’re scammers like you did.

I once got one of these grifters to walk six miles out of his way (the last three miles of his return trip to his scam pitch in a fortuitous rain storm while I was laughing in my hotel room) for $30. Hope he enjoyed the exercise and wasn’t too disappointed by my being $20 short on the promised amount of cash.

I took it as a comedy bit: the scammer being so cowardly that he takes off at full speed with a pedestrian chasing him


Yep. I saw this once at a gas station out by DeKalb.

Lady begging for a few bucks for gas, because her baby was hungry and they needed to get home. I said I didn’t have cash, but the next folks they talked to gave her some money and drove off.

The lady didn’t fill up. I watched her go into the store. I went in to buy a soda or something, and asked what she had bought. A coffee.

She can’t have got much from those people - she was asking me for “just a couple bucks”. Why bother? So petty, begging for coffee money. The risk/reward boggled my mind.

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It took me a little too long to figure out it was a license plate… a different con came to mind first.
fake presidential seal


The video doesn’t do a very good job of explaining the scam. Do they ask for $100 in return for the gold? Pretty low level scam amount. I thought maybe he would have a gang confront you and accuse you of stealing the gold ring and demand $1000 or a visit to the ATM, etc., that’s what the Pigeon Drop and other scams do.

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a tankful of gas for the long drive home

This BS scam is alive and well here in Joshua Tree, holy hell if I don’t get some ding dong every-time I get gas pulling this.


Yeah, he really should have let this play out, neither guy ever gets to the ask

I encountered a similar scam some years ago. I was walking home when I was accosted by a woman asking for money. She brandished a set of car keys and said that her car was parked around the corner, so I thought about asking her to show me her car and unlock it.

The next day, or a couple of days later, I saw her again in the same place. She was talking to a mark so I said “it’s a scam”, but the mark popped over the road to his house and came back with money.

I can’t remember which day it was, but I definitely recall seeing a car pick her up and drop her off further down the road.


While they could incorporate the Pigeon Drop or the false accusation of theft, I believe this is simpler. The ring they’re offering as “collateral” is represented/implied to be worth more that $100. The grifter is playing mainly on the mark’s altruism but also hedges a little bit on his greed.

Some con artists might add in the complications as part of the thrill-seeking aspect of the sociopathic behaviour, but most of them will keep it simple.


A bus fare scammer got me in San Francisco. He talked me up while waiting at a Golden Gate Transit bus stop, created shared affinities and mentioned the then new higher fares, he even walked part way on to the bus to talk to the driver. I’m normally pretty wary of scams but I gave him a few bucks so he could pay the new fare, and, surprise, surprise, he didn’t actually get on the bus after I boarded. The driver was mad, having seen the scammer before.

The scammer was so smooth and outwardly likable, I didn’t really care that I’d been scammed out of a few bucks - which was my first exposure to the skill and charisma a real scam artist, even if it was a small con. It’s a pernicious skill because the victims will often not only not report the scammer in big cases, but actively defend the scammer from accusations and prosecution if they are reported. Donald Trump seems to have that skill, at least in person, which is weird since he’s so transparently narcissistic and lacking in empathy.


I see this one at gas stations/fuel plazas along USAn interstates a lot. I’ve always seen small-time “asks” of $20 or less to “fiull up my gas tank because I’m stranded.” I have a friend who always gives a bit. He knows it’s not true, but figures they need the money so “why not?” He’s a better human than I am.


It is interesting that the USA version of this scam is often people who genuinely are down on their luck and needy, asking for relatively small amounts. While the EU version plays up how rich the scammer is, and goes for the serious cash.

Have to wonder if higher gas taxes in the EU are a factor.


It’s a classic scam, though. Some variation has probably been going on for centuries (minus the business card and the gas), successfully. Ubiquitous cameras and social media change things a bit, but most people aren’t going to record any relevant information (not even the license plate number), nor report it to the police, so I’m guessing it’s still incredibly safe for the scammer. I mean, these particular guys have apparently been doing this for a while, all over that country, and only now that a prominent Youtuber did a video has that information even become public. And they still haven’t actually been caught on camera committing a crime, either.


Right? The gas station “I just need $14 dollars to get back to my family in Tuscon” thing just seems like a variation of “Will work for food”. Hardly something to get angry about.

The one that makes me mad is, “I just need a little cash, so can you let me buy your gas with ‘my’ credit card and pay me cash?”. That’s someone trying to convert a stolen credit card into cash before it gets canceled.


I’ve seen this happening in L.A. The “Please help me” scam is sssoooooooo international. It might even be interplanetary.


I think the real story here is how Rick Steves looks so young in this video.