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

by Prince Of Petworth March 28, 2017 at 10:30 am 15 Comments

scam alert
Photo by PoPville flickr user Ted Eytan

“Dear PoPville,

Just wanted to let you know this seems to be happening again. A guy in a beat up old van tried to get me to pull over twice, saying my tire was about to fall off. Luckily, I knew better and the tire was perfectly fine. This was on Massachusetts Ave NW near the Convention Center. Wondering if he targeted me because I had a clearly marked Enterprise Car Share and maybe he assumed I don’t drive a lot?”

  • Anon

    He definitely didn’t target you for the reason that you assumed: it would be moronic to think that a car-share user would dish out cash for a quick fix to a rental.

    • PFlyer

      +1. This is an old scam, been around for ages. The perpetrators of the scam tend to target young drivers (on the assumption that they are naive/gullible, elderly drivers (on the assumption that they are easily confused/frightened or otherwise vulnerable) and women drivers (on the assumption that they couldn’t POSSIBLY know anything about cars). Just keep driving. If your vehicle’s “tire” or wheel is about to fall off, believe me, you would know it!

  • Just me

    I interpreted this differently. I assumed he had something more sinister in mind than fixing the car and was hoping he/she’d pull over because he/she was naive about cars and genuinely afraid the tire was falling off.

  • RumRunner

    I ran into him last Friday near Hyattsville. He pulled along side of me and said my tire was wobbly but I ran into him 5-6 years ago on RI Ave and I told him that I knew who he was and that he tried the same thing years ago so he just rolled up his window and kept moving.

  • Ben

    I actually had a wheel fall off my car once. The shop never put it on correctly after some work. I will never forget the look of shock the person next to me gave when it actually fell off.
    Lesson learned – if your car is vibrating and you pull over and can’t figure out why – check your lug nuts! I also learned (from my insurance) that once an object leaves your car you are no longer responsible for it. That thing went a good 200+ yards!

    • logan

      A couple weeks ago I saw a car on the side of 66 whose tire had completely come off and was about 100 yards back down the road. I can’t imagine that happening while you’re going 55 MPH. The driver seemed to be OK though.

    • Morton

      My colleague had the same issue last week after his mechanic failed to tighten the lugs. The vibration is a good tip off. Thankfully the tire did not leave the car.

    • Northzax

      You are certainly responsible for it. Your insurance company might not be. But if something falls off your car and damages something else, it’s not their fault!

  • Liz

    Same thing happened to me! Old guy in a van told me my “wheel was about to fall off” and to “pull over by the Exxon” so he could help me. Said he was a mechanic. Screamed all of this at my from his car while I was stopped in the lane next to him at a red light on New York Ave in NE. Happy I did not stop because when I eventually got out of my car and checked, there was nothing wrong with my car.

  • Garth Algar

    sounds just like the beginning of that scene in “zodiac”…

  • anon

    Same thing happened to me last summer on Michigan Ave NE. It happened to be the same week that I had gotten new tires put on – so I was very glad I had read this thread on Popville a year or two ago since he had some pretty excellent timing, would have almost gotten me because for a second I thought the mechanics had done something wrong!

  • west_egg

    Related: anyone who rolls down their window and offers to fix a dent in your car.

    • PFlyer

      Same advice — “No thanks.” And just keep driving. Happens to me ALL the time — I drive a mechanically perfect, paid off, low-mileage, 2003 Honda Accord, with a beat to hell body, largely from 14 years worth of parking lot encounters, that isn’t worth repairing. (Among the other benefits, other drivers stay the hell away from me on the Beltway because they assume I’m a madman.) The same line, while idling in traffic or in a parking lot — “Hey, I do body work, I have all of my tools in my trunk / truck bed [meaning a $35 dent puller, a can of Bondo, and a can of spray paint] I can do it for you right here and give you a real good price.”
      Uhhhhhh, No. Bye, bye.

  • PM

    I don’t get it. What happens if you pull over?

  • MattCicle

    This guy flagged me down a few weeks ago on Kenilworth! Same M.O.

    Told me to pull up at the Exxon. Said he was a mechanic. Screamed at me. Implied that I was a racist when I refused to let him mess with my car.


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