Scam Alert: “he tells me that I need to pull over, my tire is about to fall off”

Photo by PoPville flickr user Mark Andre

“Dear PoPville,

I recently had an experience that left me shaken. I posted this to my FB page and it seems that it’s happened to one other person, too, and perhaps even more who I may not be associated with in social media.

Below is that FB post:

So I’ve been debating if this information was relevant to share, but it’s left me a little shaken up so…here goes. (Consider it a PSA for single women who drive around by themselves)

On Sunday I was driving in DC – @ 11:30am. I was on Rhode Island Ave NE. A guy pulls up next to me an starts to frantically get my attention. I roll down my passenger side window and he tells me that I need to pull over, my tire is about to fall off, it’s really shaking. I immediately vier over into the right hand lane and pull into a BofA parking lot. The guy pulls off with me. He’s in a beat up red van and gets out. I get out, too. He proceeds to try and budge my tire. At this point I’m standing outside of my car on the passenger side. A second vehicle pulls up to my driver’s side – two guys in a truck. They seem to know each other. One starts to get out of the truck as the red van guy tries to get me to “get down on the ground” to see this “ball joint” that’s supposedly loose. I immediately circle my car, get back in, lock the doors and roll down the window to tell the red van guy that I’m going to head to friend’s place and call AAA, thanks. He get’s upset, rolls his eyes and tells me that I can’t drive with my wheel like this. The truck of two guys pulls off.

I take my car to VW yesterday and there’s NOTHING wrong with my car.

Just in case this ever happens, here are a few tips to know if you have a loose tire:

A) Do any lights come on? If your vehicle is 2000 or newer, your dashboard should let you know something’s up.

B) Let go of the wheel. If the car is strongly pulling to the left and the right, something’s up.

C) Drive and roll down the window. Do you hear a noise? Maybe a clicking noise?

D) Don’t believe any mother f*cker who tries to pull you over unless you do the 3 things above. Then flick him off and tell him you’re not going to be another statistic.

~~~~end post~~~~~~~~

One friend replied with:

This happened to me too, on NY Ave NE eight or so years ago. I was fool enough to pay the guy $50 to “fix” my loose tire.

When I went to the VW dealer the next day, they said there was nothing wrong with the tire to begin with.

I think these scammers target women. And the scam has been going on for years.
After this incident, I called 311 and my only option was to select Fire & EMS, who then transferred me to the communications department (311) for DC police, who then transferred me to the 3rd district police department. After speaking to the 3rd precinct, the lady on the phone asked me twice “but did you get a license plate?” I told her I hadn’t thought of that and she told me that they can’t do anything. I asked her if this information was relevant in a PSA sort of way, or maybe just bring this to the Police’s attention and she told me that they couldn’t do anything about it then disconnected.

I think that this is an important story to share in case there’s a scam out there where single women driving around are targeted in NE.

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