Dear PoP – Beware Pregnant Scammer

Photo by PoPville flickr user Vileinist

“Dear PoP,

This is kind of a crazy story, but is definitely something your readers should know about. TWO of my friends have been taken by the same scam artist in the last couple days. (the first took place outside the Kennedy center, and the other occurred near gallery place.) in both situations, the woman in a puffy coat came up to the target and started crying. she told a long story about how she’s pregnant and had been hit by a car. she begged for money to get back home (allegedly two hours away). she just kept sobbing and begging for money. she made up ridiculous stories about how her friend was supposed to pick her up but left early / her bank was closed until the morning / her baby might be hurt. in both situations, my friends (being nice/trusting individuals) gave her cash. as soon as my friend opened her wallet, the woman directed her to go to a nearby ATM to get MORE money. this is clearly a scam – please be aware.”

Scammers abound.

40 Comment

  • Damn, I wish I read this warning earlier! This mroning I gave her $40 so she could get to Quantico to deliver her baby!

  • Oh No! Say it isn’t so!

  • I used to live by McPherson Square, and this lady was there alllll the time. She’s been “pregnant” since 2007. She will also run into traffic to force you to stop your car (no, really). It’s best to avoid her at all costs.

  • This woman still hasn’t had her baby?

    I used to see her around Mount Vernon Square, Shaw, and Gallery Place all the time.

    My wife offered her a meal at McDonald’s on NY Ave. yet she insisted she rather have Chinese. She was told to take it or leave it and surprise, surprise, she declined.

    • If this is the same woman, she grabbed me (breaking the skin on my shoulder with her nails) near the old convention center site in the summer of 2007, demanding money because she was pregnant. There were plenty of people around and when I said “LET GO OF ME” and pulled away, she did.

      I feel bad for her. She is clearly not all there. But there is no excuse for intimidating people like that.

  • Damn, I hate to say it, but if you fall for this scam, you need to seriously reconsider whether you should be living in the city.

    1) In any instance of a random person claiming injury, offer to call 911 for assistance. Yes, they wil start claiming they don’t have insurance and just need cash. yes, they are scamming you.

    2) In any instance of a random person approaching on the street claiming a hard luck story, be it a war hero story, family in a cold car, etc- send them to 1317 G St, NW, the Church of the Epiphany. They have a robust ministry to the homeless. They will help those in need, and know who are scammers.

    • +1

      Im personally offended when someone gives me one of these sob stories b/c they have clearly come to the conclusion that im a sucker…no matter how good the story there is always some obvious flaw in the story (that is if you stick around to listen to the entire thing) usually involving the person needing to get back to a place 30 miles or more away…dont fall for it ppl

    • MH –

      Thank you!

      As a homeless service provider one of the hardest things to listen to is people deciding to give someone money and then feeling dupped/angry about doing so and anger towards a person who most likely has a mental illness or a need to utilize a survival technique.

      When I hear someone – no matter who it is state that they are hit by a car, pregnant or not, my first instinct is to offer medical assistance.

      If this is refused I generally look for the next obvious harm reduction option, a near by officer or suggestion of a shelter. Walking away with respect and care is always a choice you have.

      I will never fault someone for offering monetary assistance to someone on the street, but remember that you cannot get upset no matter the story you hear because it was a choice you decided to make.

  • Yeah, if it’s the same person, I’ve seen her in various places, a few times at Thomas Circle. Perpetually pregnant.

  • Oh dear. I’ve been had. She came up to me in Dupont in October… she was incredibly convincing and I gave her $35. I feel like a heel.

  • She followed me down a block asking for cash in 2007 or 2008. She was claiming to pregnant the whole time. I’ve heard other people talking about encounters with her as well. When she finally gives birth the child will be fully grown, possibly a Grendel-like monster that will chase people down the street breathing smoke and asking for a handout.

  • Variation on a theme. I’ve heard “my car broke down and I need cab fare to bring my daughter her diabetes medication” (complete with pharmacy bag), and, “my car broke down and I need to get home to take MY diabetes medication”. These are effective because the scammer has a specific amount (say $35) and a time-sensitive need. Like the metro Marine.

    I don’t think anyone should feel bad about being taken in by these scammers. I’d rather lose some cash this way than become so cynical that I refuse to help someone in genuine need.

  • Plus this really hurts all the real pregnant women who have been hit by cars and need cash to get to their homes two hours away.

    At least three times when I lived in Adams-Morgan I ran into confused individuals around 7 am when I was walking my dog who asked for money or help getting home. They were inevitably from Fredericksburg or Fredrick or Fredtown and had been ditched by their friends during a night of heavy heavy binge drinking. In each case it was clear they really needed help and I felt sorry for them but I always made sure to never carry a wallet when walking my dog. Kept away the muggers and the scammers.

  • I’ve run into the ‘daughter with diabetes’ (no dice), and the Metro marine (also no dice). But I DID get scammed at a gas station by some guy who’s “father died, needed cash for gas to get to N.C.” Gave him $10 b/c I was scared and wanted him gone.

  • Back in 2006-07, there was a woman in Old Town Alexandria with a similar story. The first time I was sympathetic; three months later, when the story was the same, I realized what was happening.

  • I think the same woman hit my husband and I up in a parking garage in Rosslyn. She told us she was pregnant and her car had been hit; her mom was at work and she needed to get to Leesburg. She also turned down our offer to call 911. Apparently, not giving her cold hard cash is, in her opinion, “un-Christian.” Which is fine with us, since we are not religious anyways.

  • if this is the same woman I’m thinking of, she has been pregnant since 2002, at least.

  • This post reminds me of Maggie Lizer from Arrested Development.

  • She hit me up with the same story at the gas station on U and 15th NW. I didn’t fall for it, although I felt like a heartless jerk.

  • I use to see her all the time at Ghetto Giant in Old Town. I told her one time that she must be a medical miracle because she had still not had her child since the first time she begged from me a year prior and still did not look that pregnant. She quickly turned around and walked the other way and I never saw her again.

  • Falcon Punch!

  • She’s been pregnant for years. If you fall for one of these, well, you’re a sucker. Sorry, that’s how it is.

    Simple rule: Never, EVER give any cash to persons asking for it on the street. Those really in need can get shelter, food, etc. through numerous, well-known programs.

  • Yes, unfortunately being a good Samaritan comes at a price. Sometimes we have to give someone in need the benefit of the doubt, and yes, sometimes we get rooked. Luckily we can look out for each other with more scam alerts such as this. Thanks for posting PoP. Please consider doing more in the future.

    • We can help those who truly need help by offering to buy food or guiding them to a shelter. I never give money to anyone, ever.

  • When I was living in Spain, there was a gypsy woman near my apartment holding a baby, crying, “Leche! Leche por the bebe!” I felt terrible and gave her cash. Later that day, I noticed the same was kid being held by the second shift mother, who crying for the same thing.

    • Yeah they do that all the time there. Did you actually see a baby? Many times its just a bundle of blankets.

  • There was a woman walking around Ford’s theatre last week pushing a stroller (with a real kid in it) saying that she had to beg for hotel money every night. At first I thought she was scamming… but then I felt so bad for the kid, I gave her $. I thought, no one would bring a kid out in the cold and rain to scam… maybe I was wrong.

  • What about those teenage kids that show you a folded up piece of paper on the metro (I assume it’s a scam) asking for money? Has anyone ever seen what’s written on the paper? Do they just pocket the mOney?

    • Are you talkin about the kids that talk really fast asking you to buy some stale cookies to keep them off the street (see them a lot at pentagon city metro, coincidence)? Im pretty sure they pocket that money…half of those “kids” look old enough to have a job

  • This lady has been all over the place. She used to play that routine in Ballston a few years ago.

  • I was scammed by her!! At Farragut West after work one night – gave her…too much. I’ve been keeping an eye out in case I see her again so I can report her – apparently I’m not the only one.

  • Wow, the guy with the dead father in NC knocked on my door kind of late one night last year. It was scary and I had to tell him to never knock on my door again.

    • Yeah, that guy has hit me up a couple times outside my job (on the Hill). I never carry cash, so whenever anyone asks me for money I’m unable to give it, even if I wanted to.

  • Be careful for scams at gas stations. I’ve heard “I’m pregnant”/”My wife is in the car” (if it’s a man) with “I ran out of gas and have no money or wallet.”

    I’ve also heard of scams where someone (not an attendant) offers to pump your gas for you. Not pay for it, just pump it for you “just to be nice.” What happens is when they’re done, they only put the nozzle back halfway. When the innocent driver doesn’t notice and pays for the gas, the scammer can pull up afterwards and pump gas on the driver’s credit card.

    I usually ignore or refuse any strangers that approach me, even if they “seem” OK. It’s possible that I’ve turned down someone who’s legitimately in need, but I’d rather not take the chance on getting robbed or assaulted.

  • She approached me near Chinatown a month or so ago. I glanced at her and walked away as she started her sad tale. She called me a bitch and the ‘c’ word and I flipped her off. People, don’t get suckered into giving these people cash. The scams are so obvious.

    • Is she short, squat, and sort of masculine-looking? I think she’s the one I’ve dealt with before in Old Town, Georgetown, and Dupont. She’d smooth talk and be complimentary (“I love your outfit!”), then go on about how she was pregnant. I never gave her money but sympathized with her, until I heard her story one too many times. I called her out on it, and that woman did a 180 and started screaming and cursing like a loon. This woman’s got issues.

  • anyone else come across the guy in columbia heights who recently got out of prison, has been sleeping in a laundry room, can’t get a job, and needs cash to get an ID so he can finalize paperwork with a potential employer?

  • This lady nearly had me. She stopped me by McPherson a few weeks ago and came across as very believable…until I started asking questions. She couldn’t give me details of her “accident” but she knew exactly where all of the neaby ATMs were.

  • This lady nearly had me. She stopped me by McPherson a few weeks ago and came across as very believable…until I started asking questions. She couldn’t give me details of her “accident” but she knew exactly where all of the nearby ATMs were.

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