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Why Me? Here is a safe space to let it all out, where you can rant about all the bad things life throws your way. Sometimes it just helps to ask "why me?"

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  (#1 (permalink)) Old
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It was stupid of me to give in to a scam. - February 22nd 2017, 01:02 AM

Not fall for a scam, give in to one.

I was sitting in the library's cafe area (technically it's a Starbucks we renamed because we also have a Dunkin and legal reasons and blah blah) drinking my frappe and doing stuff on my laptop when this lady approaches me and puts a little flier thing in my hand saying "Spread the message" and then hands me a little notebook thing. It's at this point I realize she wants money. It was for some "charity" I won't give the name of here.

I wasn't really too sure what this was all about since she didn't really do any explaining so I said I didn't have any money, and she basically told me that there was an ATM over there (i think there's one in our library or in our student center) and we could go to it. I tried again saying I'm tight on cash and stuff and she kept on insisting.

It was a bad anxiety day and I just wanted to be left alone so I was like "Is 5 enough? I'll give you a 5."

She kept trying to get me to give $20 and said it was a one-time donation and blah blah. I opened my wallet saying she'd just get a 5 and she saw I had 10s and 20s in there so she pointed out the fact I had bigger bills so I kept repeating I need them for the pharmacy and stuff and she finally gave in and let me just give a 5. I noticed other people before me had donated 20s though.

I didn't want confrontation, I just wanted her to go away. I know you can say that this is stupid of me to do, especially knowing it was a scam giving her tone, lack of any explanation, and then later on a Google search, but it was a bad anxiety day and I didn't want to get into anything or cause a scene. I know, I'm stupid.

But after she walked away to another person I used my school's anonymous reporting website to report her to campus police and left the library to walk to class.

But outside the academic building i saw her with another student, and he was writing his name on the notebook which meant he had donated. That motivated me to call campus police directly. It was so scary because they're like real, actual cops. So I spoke to the dispatcher and asked if this lady was legit and she said she'd look into it and that you have to get permission to ask for donations like that and normally are asked to stay on the sidewalk unless you have special permission, not enter the buildings. I gave the worst description of the lady ever. It was so vague. Race, accent, and that she was wearing jeans and sneakers. Brilliant Dez, that'll be so useful in finding her. :/ But maybe they had security cameras in the library or outside the academic building. I was probably useless though.

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Re: It was stupid of me to give in to a scam. - February 22nd 2017, 05:02 AM

Hey Dez,

I am sorry you had to go through this. It is such a shame that people use charity as a means to get money for other things. It angers me and I understand how you must be feeling right now. I know you feel like you haven't helped in describing the woman correctly but the truth is that of all the people who donated to that lady, you were probably the only one who sensed it was fake and alerted the authorities. I am sure they have cameras or will be able to get details from other students who happened to interact with her. The fact that you reported her when you were suspicious in itself shows that you took the first step in fighting the scam.

There is one more thing I want to commend you about. We have a lot of such scams in the area where I live and many times I have given in to the pressure and shelled out more money than I could afford only to regret it later. I am glad you held your ground instead of giving in to her demands and shelling out more money.

I hope they catch the lady but having alerted the authorities I am sure you have saved the money of many other students who she would have scammed otherwise. I am not sure how helpful I have been but I am here if you want to talk about it. <3


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Re: It was stupid of me to give in to a scam. - February 22nd 2017, 10:33 AM

You're not stupid for falling for the scam. A similar thing happened to me and my brother. It's horrible when people put you on the spot to donate, but worse when they may not be legit and you have anxiety.

You did do the right thing contacting the campus police though! If she isn't legit, then hopefully she will be stopped, and if she is legit, perhaps they can advise her on how to approach people. There are ways of asking for donations without making people feel forced to.

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Re: It was stupid of me to give in to a scam. - February 22nd 2017, 10:40 AM

You are not stupid at all. Anxiety can interfere with us being able to speak up and be assertive. At least, I know that's the case for me. I struggle with saying no to people who ask for money on a regular basis. When I am anxious it is so much harder and my guilt intensifies. Don't be so hard on yourself. I think we've all done something like this at one point or another.

Also, don't worry so much about your description. It's hard to remember everything about a person you only have a short encounter with. I sometimes don't know how to describe people I've been around for quite some time. I am sure Campus security will be able to do something about her. It doesn't sound as though she was hiding her activity.

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Re: It was stupid of me to give in to a scam. - February 22nd 2017, 11:28 AM

Hi, Dez!

You're not stupid at all. Anxiety can make it difficult for some people to speak up. I have issues speaking up against someone encouraging me to take action that I don't want to take. You definitely aren't alone, nor are you stupid, okay? You're a smart and brilliant person who was obviously pressured into an uncomfortable situation on an already difficult day.

I find it upsetting that not only was this lady running a scam in the first place, but that she went to a library cafe; a place she likely figured she could find students whom may be vulnerable (stress and anxiety among other struggles.) And it's upsetting since she likely knows and understands students need their money to pay for tuition, books and other school supplies on top of food/medical expenses. That upsets me. I'm sorry you were approached by her and felt pressured into giving her your money. Regardless of the amount, it was money that you needed. You clearly stated you needed this money and she continued to pressure you into it. The way she was pointing out you had larger bills than a $5 bill feels like a guilt trip.

I understand completely about not wanting to confront her or cause a scene. It was understandably an uncomfortable situation, and honestly, I'd want her to go away too if she continued being that pushy. You aren't stupid at all. Even though some people did donate, I wonder if some people donated for the same reason you did. She was very pushy and persuasive apparently so you never know.

You did the right thing by reporting her and calling campus police. I know you don't feel that you gave a good description, but you have to take into consideration you were having a rough day with your anxiety and this woman was clearly causing you distress. I wouldn't expect many people to pay attention to small details of the person's appearances especially when they simply want to get out of the situation. I'm sure that what you did tell them will help because it is better than having to go on no information whatsoever. You did contribute and I'm sure it'll help. If you feel comfortable doing so, you could go to the students whom you know donated money to her and make them aware of the situation. They may have extra details to give to campus police if that's an idea they're comfortable with as well.

In regards to your anxiety, I hope the next few days continue to improve. Let us know how everything turns out with this scam if you don't mind! I hope it is resolved so that you or anyone else is not pressured into anything similar by her in the future. Take care, Dez!
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Re: It was stupid of me to give in to a scam. - February 22nd 2017, 01:58 PM

Unfortunately I don't really know any of the other students that were on that list, but I did message my friends and let them know.

An officer followed up with me last night because I also did the silent witness and he took my name and such so everything I already explained is on file and said if I see her again don't confront her but call campus police and that it was likely a scam.

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Re: It was stupid of me to give in to a scam. - February 23rd 2017, 04:36 AM

Hey Dez,

I know we already talked about this, so I can't offer much more insight, however, you should look on the bright side of things, and realize that it was only $5. You could have easily given in and given her a $20. I'm really glad you didn't though. Maybe if this happens again you can get up and leave? That way you don't have to go through any type of confrontation.

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Re: It was stupid of me to give in to a scam. - February 23rd 2017, 04:41 AM

Yes, the classic scam lol. We always see people at Walmart asking for money to later use it for other things. Do you know perhaps what this lady was wanting the money for? Even though, most of the time its a scam and they use the money to get things of personal interest. Hope all is well.
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