Scammer from 2012 is back with a slightly modified shtick

by Prince Of Petworth March 2, 2016 at 3:45 pm 20 Comments

Photo by PoPville flickr user Rob Cannon

“Dear PoPville,

I wonder if you might make a quick public service announcement that the lady discussed in this post from 2012 is back, and working the Connecticut Ave corridor between Woodley Park and Dupont. Approaches at first as if she just needs help finding her way around, to get you talking. In addition to the original story, she now claims to have bone cancer and has switched her purported residence to the far reaches of Maryland.”

  • OhTheShame

    Oh my goodness–I was absolutely scammed by this woman when I was an idiot intern in Foggy Bottom back in 2009. She’s been doing this for a long time. In my defense, it was my first week in DC and I was a baby intern who had no idea that scams like this existed.

    • textdoc
    • Kate

      Same here – fell for it in 2012 outside of the Air and Space Museum. It was my first time in a “big city” from the burbs. Oh, my sweet, sweet naivete! Now I’m a cynical Washingtonian who thinks everything is scam.

      • Kate

        I would also add that it was a very elaborate scam. She told me the same thing about her mom being a cop, gave me her badge number, name, precinct, and phone number. She told me she worked at the Natural History Museum and had a badge with a photo and official-looking business cards.

  • Allison

    I didn’t realize this was an ongoing scam! She approached me about 6 months ago outside Union Station–it was pouring rain so I felt bad but the longer she talked, and I suggested things like “go ask the police for assistance” (who were standing not 50 yards away, so it made sense) and she wasn’t taking me up on any alternative suggestion besides money, I figured it was a scam. Good to know I’m not alone.

  • textdoc

    She approached me when I was leaving the office one evening in November 2012. As soon as she mentioned Stafford, I knew she was the scammer I’d read about on PoPville a few weeks earlier. Too bad that she’s not using that recognizable element any more.

    • textdoc

      This is what I wrote about it at the time:
      “Rant: Was approached Friday night by the female scammer discussed on PoP the other week.
      Rave: Thanks to PoP, I knew it was definitely a scam. (Although I think I might’ve suspected it as such anyway, thanks to her conversational meandering.)
      [. . .] She’s about 35-45, quite tall (maybe 5’10” or 5’11”), big/plus-sized, and African-American (light/medium-skinned). She had somewhat “artistically” done eyeliner, extending horizontally beyond each eye. Her hair was mostly gold-colored — maybe gold and auburn/reddish.
      Her initial overture was something like “Excuse me, do you know your way around here?” I thought maybe she was lost and needed directions.
      Then she veered into this story about being an employee at the Department of […], having had an accident in a parking garage, and needing to get to Stafford. She wiped away some imaginary tears.
      When I said, “Sorry, I can’t help you” and walked away, she said — not really under her breath — “Arrogant!”
      I then called after her, in a loud voice, “I’ve heard about you and your scam!” She responded with something like, “I’m not even from here!” A moment or two later, she said: “I have an ID I can show you!” I called back, “I’ve heard about that part, too!”

  • MFinSW

    I didn’t know this was an ongoing scam either! I can’t remember exactly when, but it was about a year/year and a half ago, outside Federal Center SW – she was claiming to have just moved to somewhere in the Maryland burbs (very far out, though I can’t remember exactly where), and was saying the same thing about her son being in daycare and needing to get a cab home to make it there before it closed. She was very guilt-trippy and I didn’t give her money, but she really laid it on thick.

    • AnonAgain

      I wonder if this is the same woman who totally got me a couple of years ago. She was on 15th Street NW near I St and gave me a story about how her car was towed/stolen, she just moved to Waldorf, needs money for a cab, is so scared because she’s alone in DC at night, is pregnant (oh her poor baby!), but I can trust her because her mom was a cop, but her mom can’t help right now because she’s at a cop gala, etc. I knew she was scamming me, but I wound up giving her a few bucks (I was on my way home from a few drinks, so I guess I was feeling generous).
      Maybe her “baby” grew up?

      • Anon

        There are lots of these types. I got scammed by a dude with a similar story when I was a student in NYC. I gave him $20. As soon as I did it, I felt like I got scammed…and my suspicions were confirmed when he tried to hit me up again a few days later! In retrospect I should have called the cops. I thought about trying to get my money back, but he high-tailed it once he realized I knew who he was. Anyway, lesson learned. No money for people with long, convoluted, just-this-side-of-plausible sob stories.

  • KK

    Georgetown waterfront, must have been over 10 years ago. I remember Stafford. She’s had a career!

  • Speaking of scams, I got the IRS impersonator scam call just this afternoon… beware people, this guy was scary!


    • anonymous

      How is this scary? The IRS doesn’t call people to threaten them….it’s obviously BS so there’s nothing scary about it. In fact I like to play along when they call to have some fun at their expense. Then when I break it to them that I know what their up to they swear at me and act all pissed off. You know, because I had the gall to mess with them.

  • Naive yuppie

    So I fell victim to a very similar scam, but this was way up by the Twinbrook metro stop. 30-ish white woman, asking for $80 to take a cab to pick up her autistic son. Was frantic and on the verge of tears at first, but when I said I’d have to go to an ATM (yes, I was doubly an idiot for taking a stranger to an ATM after believing their story, don’t bother pointing this fact out to in comments, but there was a security guard nearby), she did become very thankful and friendly and after I gave her the money she even offered a phone number so she could pay me back (for a scam, I thought that was pretty clever). As she left, I thought, “wow, I am a nice guy!”

    Then I saw her down the street with the same faux frantic energy hitting someone else up, and Mr. Nice Guy learned an expensive lesson that day.

  • greatbigblue

    Ahh, reminders of my first intern gig in the city, when I fell for the gas scheme near Waterfront.

  • jonah

    She tried this on me recently at 13th and G NW. Nearly identical story. Got very irate that I wasted her time when I said I couldn’t help.

  • SS

    This happened to me 2 weeks ago, half a block from my apartment at 11th and Florida NW. A woman lives in one of the 3 separated townhouses next to the Children’s Medical office and stopped me, shivering with a walker and saying that she had been outside for 2 hours, needing to get home to Virginia and asked if I had cab money. I was so taken off guard/was initially concerned for her that I gave her the few dollars I had and didn’t think about it. I kept walking then came to my senses and turned around just as I watched her walk up to her door and go inside, leaving her walker on the front porch. : /

  • Troy

    Really hate to post this here, but it might save space and be right along the same files category; Yesterday, my sister called to tell me she had been scammed. Somehow or another someone got her SSN and wrote what looked to be a court document and emailed her that they were suing her for $3500.00 dollars. She thought the email lawsuit was real, proceeded to call the scammer, who by the way was real slick with the foreign accent putting her on hold, pretending he was the lawyer and speaking with the client. Ultimately he told my sister he’d agree to drop the case if she paid half or 1900.00 dollars. My sister panicked and ran to the moneygram spot in the CVS and paid it. I got the call from her the next day after. Urging her to call the police. She didn’t. Thinking that it wouldn’t do any good. After the fact she went to the scammer’s website and found countless others who went through the same situation. Bottom line: Be aware, fellow readers, be aware and question EVERYTHING. Don’t let anyone email or not scam you.

  • U Streeter

    I got approached by a guy running a similar scam on U Street a few weeks ago. I forget the details of the story, but it was something along the lines of he was here for some sort of educational opportunity and needed money for a cab to get someplace that was important to his success. Notably, he was African-American, and me and the 2 people I was standing with were white. It seems like he had tailored the scam to hit what he thought may have been our guilt points.
    Anyway, one guy I was standing with I thought had the best way of dealing with this. When the scammer was about three sentences into the spiel, this guy just cut him off, very politely, and said let’s just cut to the point because we don’t want who waste your time, again all very politely. And then he said what is it that you’re looking for, because if you’re looking for money we don’t have any. I mean, it seems like the most obvious thing in the world, but it totally shut the scammer down, and the guy who cut him off did it in such a polite way like oh we don’t want to waste YOUR time so I’m cutting right to the point. It was so expertly done, and I’ve stored it in my memory for how to handle it next time I’m approached by one of these people.

  • There are various scams like this going on. There is a scruffy redneck looking dude who shows up every few months between 20th & 22nd on P. He needs “just a buck to get on the subway to get home to Virginia” or “a couple of bucks for gas.” He’s been doing that since 1994.

    The worst ones are those who have children with them. When I first moved here, I actually fell for the one who used to hang out at CVS on Dupont Circle with a baby in a stroller, and a toddler. Usually, I am impervious to ploys. But, It was cold. It was Christmastime, and the thought of children with nothing just tore into my Good Catholic Boy/Parent nature. A few days later, there was a story on the news about her and a whole group that was milking people with the scam. Since that, i don’t give strangers money.


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