Monday, March 19, 2007

Who's at the Door?

Saturday afternoon, Greg and I were sitting in the living room, enjoying the sunshine when the doorbell rang. At the door was a young woman, perhaps 20 years old, who introduced herself as a neighbour. She said that she was very embarrassed, couldn't believe her situation, but was desperate. You see, her mom was being discharged from the hospital and she had to go and pick her up, and take her home in taxi. She had already bargained a half price deal with the taxi company but the problem was that she had no money as she doesn't get paid until next Friday. Would it be at all possible if she could borrow the money and pay us back on payday? Being the kind man that he is, Greg managed to scrounge up $8 (from MY work bag!) and gave it to her. He even said not to worry about paying it back. She thanked him profusely, promised to pay it back, and then went on to ask the lady next door.
As I was contemplating whether I should drive her to the hospital myself (after all what are good neighbours for?) Greg called me back into the living room and said that he thought we'd just been scammed. What?!?! We live in a house with an excellent vantage point of both ends of a crescent thanks to our bay window. He pointed out a black car that was idling mid-street and said that he had seen the driver moments earlier walking around looking up various driveways. Now he wondered if the woman and driver were together. Just then the woman walked down our neighbour's drive and headed in the opposite direction as the car. At that moment, the car also made it's move and headed away. We wondered if they were going to meet at the bottom of the next street corner. Greg jumped in our car and slowly followed the woman. He was able to stay out of view and sure enough, just when she thought no one had seen her, she jumped into the car! I'm not sure what Greg was thinking because in this day and age when everyone seems to pack a gun, he made his Dukes of Hazzard move and pulled his car in front of theirs so they couldn't move forward! He got out of the car and confronted them. The woman was a very good liar. She said that her friend had just at that moment turned up to give her a ride, how lucky was that?! Greg called them bullshitters, said he had seen the whole thing, how the guy was waiting for her at the corner etc. He said that he knew that they were scamming the neighbourhood, that he had their description and their license plate number. Greg said that they looked very scared at having been caught, and for what it's worth, she did give him our money back. She had at least $40 worth of bills and change, so she'd probably been to quite a few of the neighbours doors.
When he got home, he did make a call to the police with the complaint, their plate number and description but who knows if they were pulled over. I'm sure the police have bigger and better things to worry about than a couple of scammers, but still, they are stealing and should be stopped.
We went over to our next door neighbour and explained what happened. She had given the woman the full $20, but as she handed the money over had said to her "I'm giving you this money in God's name." Bless her. She figured that the woman must have really needed the money, whatever the reason.
This experience has left me with a sour taste in my mouth. How can you trust anybody at the door anymore? When we first moved in, I was dreading having the Jehova's knocking at our door. They came and went and haven't bothered coming around again. But in any given week, there are people coming around canvassing for charity...how do you really know that the money is going to charity, and not directly into the canvassers pocket? I do donate money to a few charities of my choice, mainly homeless shelters, and I donate directly to the shelter. Honestly, after this scam, I don't think I'll be doling out any money at the door anymore. I am definitely not as trusting as I was a week ago.
Any thoughts on this?

11 comments:

moon said...

Bravo to Greg!..Good job, atleast he did something and got the info police needed..(whether they do something or not)...How many times does our gut tell us something and we pass it off..atleast he wasted no time in busting them himself.

I know what u mean about feeling different, and trusting less...it's really sad when we come to terms with how devious ppl can be. The good news to remember though, is there are many more like us with some good moral fiber. I won't let a few bad apples and experiences taint my faith in *good* ppl out there. We walk among us lol. We just have to be more carefull.

Jean said...

You gave that woman the money out of the goodness of your heart without any expectation of return, that is a blessing for you. She stole from you, God will punish her in His own time & way. As the saying goes, "What goes around comes around".

Have a blessed day,
Jean

Anonymous said...

I know exactly how you feel. I hate it that I always think the worst of people anymore. I never used to be that way. I give to charities too....and I give it straight to them. Not to some guy in front of Wal-Mart or going door to door. Its a shame it has to be that way.

Pam

Pez said...

I once gave a guy money who said his car was out of gas and he needed to get home. He kept saying "I promise I am not scamming you". The next day I happened to be in a different part of downtown and the same guy came up to me with the same story. I told him I gave him money yesterday and he denied it was him! Riiiight. So I just looked him square in the eye and said "*God* knows it was you too" and he turned and ran away. heh

Anyway, I wonder too if not only these people were scamming you but also were checking out your house to see what might be worth stealing. I am glad that Greg called the cops and hope that they get caught.

Begered said...

Personally, I have never trusted strangers asking for money. I wish we lived in a world that we could trust people, but unfortunately, that is not the case. When I see people on the street asking for money, I would much rather give them food. I am sorry this happened to your neighborhood, but at least you got your money back and scared them a little. I am weary of just answering the door to strangers. When I was younger at my parents house some guy came knocking on the door late at night and thank God we had a security door. He was asking for some donation to charity and my brother scared him off…he ended up going next door…home invasion…one of the scariest things that can happen to someone. He beat up the guy pretty good and stole what he could. Too bad my brother didn’t follow him, it may have prevented this from happening to my neighbor.

Begered said...

Personally, I have never trusted strangers asking for money. I wish we lived in a world that we could trust people, but unfortunately, that is not the case. When I see people on the street asking for money, I would much rather give them food. I am sorry this happened to your neighborhood, but at least you got your money back and scared them a little. I am weary of just answering the door to strangers. When I was younger at my parents house some guy came knocking on the door late at night and thank God we had a security door. He was asking for some donation to charity and my brother scared him off…he ended up going next door…home invasion…one of the scariest things that can happen to someone. He beat up the guy pretty good and stole what he could. Too bad my brother didn’t follow him, it may have prevented this from happening to my neighbor.

Kristi said...

Wow. What a completely awful thing to happen to you. And good for Greg for going after the scammer. It definitely tests your faith in the good of humanity, doesn't it?

When I'm in NY, (and when I lived in London) I do give money to the people on the street, but usually only those with animals. I have no idea what they're doing with the money, but I figure if they're at least hopefully taking care of their dogs and cats.

Bob-kat said...

I am very sad that your trust has been broken in this way - now you are far less likely to help someone in real need and it's not your fault at all! I was pleased to read that Greg confronted them and got your money back though - good for him!

I never give out cash. If someone is collecting for charity then they will have identification and usually a collecting pot which is sealed. Otherwise they get nothing from me. I hate door to door collections anyway and do most of my giving via direct debit to charities I have chosen to donate to.

I had an awful experience with a charity worker coming to the door a couple of years ago. I was home ill and they tried to pressure me into giving despite my saying that I already gave to charity. They then started to remark on what a nice house I had and a nice car and that surely someone with nice things could afford to give. This made me very angry afterwards but I was too ill to argue with them at the time.

Donna said...

How awful! And scary, they came right up to your door. It amazes me what people will do for money.

sher said...

Yes--bravo to Gregg indeed. The sad thing is this does make a person feel very pessimistic about charity. We've had a similar thing happen here with a woman going door to door, claiming to be a neighbor. By the time she came to my door, I had become so disgusted with the number of people coming to our door, claiming to be from charities--I automatically said "no" to her and found out later that she had scammed other neighbors. I picked my charities some time ago and we give to them. I'm not going to give money at the door--unless it's a Girl Scout!

DaisyMae Maus said...

I worry about Greg ... Confronting people like that could have had furry bad results for him. He's fortunate that he wasn't injured.

Mom doesn't answer the door if she doesn't recognize the person through the peephole ... Not good karmically, but safer just the same. After being mugged last year in broad daylight, Mom believes in safety first.

DMM