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    One Good Scam Deserves Another

    | Auckland, New Zealand | Liars & Scammers, Themed Giveaway

    (I own a small coffee shop in the central business district of Auckland. It is surrounded by offices, and so our clientele are typically professional types. I am approached at the counter by a confident, well-dressed customer in a casual suit.)

    Customer: “Can you help me? I’ve locked myself out of my car, and my wife has gone off shopping. My wallet is in the car. I wonder if you could let me have a sandwich and coffee until she gets back?”

    Me: “Sure! What would you like?”

    (I proceed to serve him. He thanks me profusely and gives me his business card. The bill is no more than $12. After an hour or so, he gets up to leave and approaches me on the way out.)

    Customer: “Thanks so much! I’ll meet my wife, get into the car and come back and settle up.”

    Me: “No worries!”

    (The customer never returns. The sum involved was small, so I did not really care, but after a few days I sent a gentle text message reminder to the number on the business card. I thought maybe he forgot and could pay me next time he was in town. It turns out that the business card was not his. He had approached someone in the car park and given them the ‘locked out of car’ story and apologetically asked to borrow $10 to get home. He had also insisted that the good Samaritan who had given him the $10 also give him a business card so he could ‘get the money back to him.’ The guy tells me he thought it was a bit odd that the customer was so keen to get the card. After hearing this, I was both surprised and a little impressed at the fraudster’s boldness and ingenuity, but did not envy him. What a terrible way to choose to live: scamming people a few dollars at a time.)