Beware scamsters

Published June 1, 2013 1:01 am

This is an archived article that was published on sltrib.com in 2013, and information in the article may be outdated. It is provided only for personal research purposes and may not be reprinted.

Concerning the ongoing debate about giving cash to panhandlers, including "Ban the beggars" (Forum, May 22), I recently encountered a new way to get free money. I call this one scam-handling.

On two different occasions, I heard the scammer in action. Same guy, same spiel, different locations. What are the odds?

The first time was at a Costco food court, then at a busy restaurant. He sits, having a phone conversation that is most likely bogus. His spiel is about needing $40 … wife went to the hospital … ambulance … lost her purse … nice that you will pray for me… I'll pray, too … but, I desperately need $40 … I've got nowhere else to turn … baby is sick … .

Upon hearing such a story, one feels compelled to offer assistance. Now, after overhearing the same pitch twice, I am certain this is simply his day job. Sure would be interesting to know how many have responded to his heart-wrenching story.

Generous hearts, beware!

Don Swaby

Cottonwood Heights