by Prince Of Petworth November 28, 2016 at 2:00 pm 22 Comments


From an email:

“Just wanted to give restaurants a heads up on a scammer. This gentleman came into our establishment, saying that our GM (named her by name), promised we would reimburse him for his dry cleaning bill after we spilled something on his Lieutenants jacket a few weeks ago. I was able to get in touch with my GM and check his story out, it did not. I tried getting his contact info, to let him know I would be happy to reimburse him when I talked to my GM. He said he would be going to court the next day to file a claim against us. I text a couple of other friends in the restaurant business to warn them about him, and it seems they had already been hit by him. The gentleman is a well dressed black male, about mid 30’s, slightly receding hairline, and wore glasses.”

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.”

by Prince Of Petworth November 23, 2015 at 1:10 pm 30 Comments

Photo by PoPville flickr user Jonathan Rogers

“Dear PoPville,

I write in to warn others about a man posing as a good Samaritan helping with car trouble. My partner and I were driving from Brookland through to Hyattsville on Friday evening, 11/20 around 8pm. My partner was driving and I was in the passenger seat. Somewhere along Riggs Rd. NE, a guy driving an early 2000s silver ford windstar minivan pulls up on our passenger side, honking and motioning for me to roll down my window. I do and he tells me that our right front wheel is wobbling a lot and looks like it will fall off. My partner says he did feel something off when turning, so we made our next right and pull off the road into an alley to check things out. We notice that the man in the minivan had pulled up behind us and he got out to point out what he saw. He was very specific and said it was the lower ball joint nut that was coming loose, and that all the potholes in the dmv area cause this frequently. He demonstrated that it was loose, saying he knew what he was looking for given that he was a mechanic, and was able to convince my mechanical engineer partner who built a race car in college that it needed adjusting right then and there. The man said he had the tools to fix it and could do it in three to twelve minutes and we’d be on our merry way. (more…)

by Prince Of Petworth November 23, 2015 at 9:45 am 51 Comments

Photo by PoPville flickr user Elliot Mitchell

A reader reports:

“This morning I was in my favorite little coffee shop (Cafe Grande) on K Street between 17 and 18th and a guy came in with the “$20 for two $10’s” scam. He’s a hunched over, African-American man who is probably 5’4” wearing a red jacket and a grey hat. Having read about that here I told him to go away but he convinced the woman at the register to “make the change” for him. I watched him as he pocketed the $20 and started screaming at her “for only giving him $1.” I stepped in – as did a couple of other patrons – saying “this is a scam, don’t worry you gave him a $20.” He got very vocal and started yelling at us, saying we were trying to take money from a homeless man, etc. The cashier (who had limited English and was very upset by the entire situation) threatened to call the police at which point he walked out. Just wanted to give people working in the area the heads up!”

by Prince Of Petworth April 1, 2015 at 12:25 pm 33 Comments

Photo by PoPville flickr user Mike Maguire

“Dear PoPville,

A man (description: mid 40s, short, chubby, African American) came to my door around 9 p.m. on March 26 claiming to be my neighbor from four doors down. He said he was short $38 to pay for a locksmith. He said the police refused to assist him and bemoaned how they used to back in the day. He gave a generic name (Mr. Nesbit, I think) but I did not recognize him or the last name from my block. Given the various of money-seekers with bogus stories that have come to my house since moving to Petworth I declined to give him any money.

My wife suggested offering to pay with my credit card and telling him that since we were neighbors I trust he would pay me back.

Package Thief:
I saw a man (description: mid 40s, short chubby, African American) pacing in front of my door around 5 p.m. on March 30. He walked away and I went to the door to see what was going on. I saw him casually kicking a box down my steps while he glanced left and right. When he had kicked the box to the gate at the sidewalk I asked him what was up with the box. With the box at his feet he literally said to me “what box”. A back and forth ensued with him claiming to not see it on account of his blindness. He then said he was looking for his friend John’s house and mumbled some address that was four blocks to the north. He kept on with the blind argument, then claimed to be handicapped. He went as far as to produce his “handicap papers” to demonstrate his truthfulness. I picked up the box and he waddled off to the south.

I thought they might be the same man but I cannot say so with much certainty.

I live on the 4000 block of 7th St. NW.”

Another reader reports the same scammer story:

“Middle aged black male, dark clothing, medium complexion, weighs about 290+ pounds,

Talks like he is out of breath, sweating on his forehead, says he is locked out of his house on the next block, his money is inside his house, the locksmith is waiting to open his door but he needs $38’s more to get the door open; begs for the money and says he’ll be right back with repayment just as soon as he gets entry to his house.”

by Prince Of Petworth March 6, 2015 at 11:00 am 15 Comments

Photo by PoPville flickr user Mark Andre

From MPD:

“The Metropolitan Police Department is informing the public about a consumer scam where aggressive telephone calls are being made by scammers posing as IRS representatives.

These callers usually threaten arrest or prosecution if money is not immediately paid. Technology allows the scammer to “spoof” or alter the Caller ID to make it appear that the call is coming from legitimate law enforcement or IRS phone numbers. Most of these scams originate from overseas using VOIP phone services such as Skype or MagicJack. These services allow a scammer from any part of the world to obtain a phone number with any area code they wish. Many times the scammers choose a 202 area code to add legitimacy to their scam, due to the Treasury Department and other Federal Agencies being headquartered in Washington, D.C.

The IRS will never:

Call to demand immediate payment, nor will the agency call about taxes owed without first having mailed you a tax bill.
Require you to use a specific payment method for your taxes, such as a Greendot pre-paid card, or wire services such as Western Union or MoneyGram.
Threaten to bring in local police or other law-enforcement groups to have you arrested for not paying.

If you get a phone call from someone claiming to be from the IRS and asking for money, immediately HANG UP. Under no circumstances should you engage them in conversation or provide any personal information. Also do one of the following:

If you think you might owe taxes, call the IRS at 1-800-829-1040. The IRS employees can help you with a payment issue.

If you’ve been targeted by this scam, please report the incident by completing the following online report: http://www.treasury.gov/tigta/contact_report_scam.shtml

Also contact the Federal Trade Commission and use their “FTC Complaint Assistant” at https://www.ftccomplaintassistant.gov

Remember to add “IRS Telephone Scam” to the comments of your complaint.

If you have further questions regarding this scam, please contact the Financial and Cyber Crimes Unit at 202-727-4159 or [email protected]

by Prince Of Petworth August 29, 2014 at 1:30 pm 27 Comments

Photo by PoPville flickr user Raymond Bryson

Gotta give props to textdoc for compiling this list when we spoke about the guy who was asking for money so he could get to the hospital. If you’re bored and still stuck at work this list is way too impressive to leave buried in the comments of that post.

“For the OP and anyone else, here are links to discussions of some other frequently attempted scams:

.Supposed “fundraisers” for schools, schools’ marching bands, etc.:

.Being locked out and needing to pay a locksmith:


.Someone presenting two $10 bills and asking for a $20 bill in exchange:

.Woman who claims to have been in a car accident, says it’s her first week on the job at ____, and asks for $ for taxi fare to get back to Stafford, VA:

.Older man in Metro asking for money to go somewhere that Metro doesn’t reach: https://www.popville.com/2014/06/scam-or-not-vol-17-locked-out-and-needed-to-pay-the-locksmith/#comment-784041

.Woman asking for money to pick up a prescription at a specific CVS: https://www.popville.com/2014/06/scam-or-not-vol-17-locked-out-and-needed-to-pay-the-locksmith/#comment-783913

.Guy claiming he’s military and saying he needs money to get back to base: https://www.popville.com/2014/06/scam-or-not-vol-17-locked-out-and-needed-to-pay-the-locksmith/#comment-784082

.(Not sure if this one was a one-off) Pedestrian throws self in front of runner and claims that runner broke his watch: https://www.popville.com/2013/08/another-warning-for-joggers-scammer-alert/

by Prince Of Petworth July 9, 2014 at 12:25 pm 35 Comments

Photo by PoPville flickr user Beau Finley

“Dear PoPville,

For some reason I’ve been lucky enough to be part of two attempted scams in the past month (I also wrote in about the hostile scammer at archives). I live at the corner of W Street NW and 11 Street NW and at about 9:00 pm a man knocked on my door claiming he was just at CVS and he left his keys there and needs a money to pay the locksmith. He claimed he was my neighbor and was even caring around a reusable shopping bag with stuff he said he bought from CVS. He kept saying “I’m your neighbor, I wouldn’t lie to you.” I didn’t recognize him from the neighborhood. After I said I’m sorry I don’t have money he promptly left. He was nicely dressed and polite, but I just couldn’t believe this. Especially since I’ve needed to call a locksmith and they do not demand cash before they open your door. Also, he was talking really fast, his eyes were rather large, and he kept chewing his bottom lip, so yeah. I’ll feel really bad if this was my neighbor but something tells me my intuition was correct here. We called the police and gave a description: black man, upper 40s, about 5’7″, short sleeve yellow plaid shirt, green dress pants.”


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