February 11, 2005

Scamming 101

Scam 1

A young man comes to our office to tell us about his organisation (they help people who can't pay their medical bills, teach women how to read etc.). My supervisor politely bring him over to my office, on my second day here. I ask him more information and he promises to stay in touch.

Two weeks later, the young lad comes to my office again, very energized and enthusiastic. He tells me of all the progress that his organisation has made so far, he hands me a pamphlet. I express my interest in coming to see where they are located and how they work. He mentions that they are working on moving out of their little studio and trying to find a new place, but assures me that I can come check them out as soon as they are done moving. He promises to stay in touch.

Two months later, the receptionist rings me to let me know that the guy is waiting at the front. Annoyed that he (again) hasn't called to set a meeting and decided to just show up, I grunt, go to the reception, politely say hi and invite him to my office. This time, he is very well dressed, has a briefcase in his hand and tells me about all the meetings he's had in Saint Louis. He says "we'd like for you to be on our board". I skirm uncomfortably on my chair, saying that I barely know anything about him organisation. He pulls out a sign up sheet and tells me that he also is raising funds to help mothers pay for their children's antimalarial medication. Would I be willing to contribute? Again, I feel uncomfortable and squirm on my chair. I push the paper back and tell him I'd rather sign NEXT time, when he calls me and makes an appointment with the receptionist. "Ah, that's the trouble" he answers, "the petition is ending today". I sign, give him CFA F5,000 and never see him again.


Scam 2

Three of us went to eat in a very pleasant restaurant that we know well. The bill comes up to CFA F 6,000 and we pay quickly. The waiter comes to collect our bill with a huge smile, thanks us and goes to the cash register. He comes back a little flustered and says "you're missing a 1,000". Embarrassingly, I try to figure out who's paid for what and reach for my wallet to add another bill.

Friend 1 firmly says "no, I'm sure that we paid the full amount. There was a 5,000 bill and a 1,000. Sir, you must be mistaken". He gets annoyed and insists that there was not enough money in the basket. Friend 1 "Please get Marie, your supervisor". The waiter is a little taken aback but nevertheless calls the supervisor. The supervisor talks with Friend 1 and acknowledges the fact that we come here often and are honest customers, "surely, I don't know what happened but the bill may have fallen somewhere along the way" she adds. "Yes, that's probably what happened" answers Friend 1. The distance from our table to the cash register is about 3 meters. Needless to say, we didn't leave a tip.



Anonymous said...

What's up with all of the incomplete posts?

Red Handed Jill said...

incomplete posts? i don't see any...

that's irritating about people trying to scam you. it's kind of sad, too. there's so much poverty in the world. sometimes i feel guilty for having everything i could need or want.

007 in Africa said...

To tell you the truth, it sucks because I don't take the time to know people anymore. Even the people who are truly friendly.

I feel guilty too and that's why I'm over here. But you have to remember that there are good and bad people everywhere. The scammers know that you feel guilty and capitalize on that.