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“BEWARE the ‘I’m-from-Dubai-and-need-gas-money’ scam”


Photo by PoPville flickr user Andrew Pasko-Reader

“Dear PoPville,

I was walking my dog on the 5800 block of Colorado Ave when a speeding car pulled over quickly to a stop near me. My spider senses tingled because you just don’t pull up to someone like that…unless you know the person or it’s a beat down. The car was a silver Maxima with NY license plates. There were four occupants inside: male driver (~30 years old), male passenger (~35 years old), two teen aged girls in the back. All looked to be of Middle Eastern descent. Here’s what went down.

MALE PASSENGER: Excuse me brother.
ME: [Silent]
MP: Assalam-alaikum brother. How are you?
ME: Hey.
MP: Please come here brother.
ME: [Hesitantly walk up to the car]
MP: Brother, I’m from Dubai where are you from?

ME: Here.
MP: Brother, I’m from Dubai, we need money for gas. Here, take my chains and rings, please keep them with you. I just need a few dollars.
ME: No.
MP: Please brother, take my jewelry. I give them to you.
ME: No.
FEMALE PASSENGERS: Please help us, we need money. Please!
ME: No.

The car sped away. The whole interaction took about a minute. The male passenger was heavy-set with a scruffy beard and wore 3-4 large fake gold chains and several rings that he will offer to you in exchange for cash. The male driver seemed uninterested and stared ahead. The two teen aged female passengers in the back chimed in when it was clear that I was not going to give anything.

Normally, I would have paid more attention but the same thing had happened to my friend on Connecticut Ave a few months back. And he gave them $10. Then he thought to himself, “Why the hell would someone from Dubai need money?”

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