Wednesday, July 11, 2007

Targeted!

Yesterday evening hubby and l watched a show on BBC called, ‘The Real Hustle’. It’s an interesting series where scams and magic tricks are performed on members of the public. It’s really amazing to see just how sophisticated some con artists have become in their endeavours.

The show highlights ways in which money can be extracted, with a view to educating the viewer in how to avoid becoming a victim. Various terminology is explained, and the marks are fully informed of the cons/scams straight afterwards and repaid any money they'd lost.
*Quote borrowed from Wikipedia

Here is a LINK to some of the earlier shows.

Last night hubby and l sat in astonishment as we watched THE FAKE LEATHER JACKET SCAM. Shocked because a few years back we had obviously been chosen as the MARK for this.

...About five years ago, just after wee S was born we made our usual pilgrimage down to Cornwall to visit family. I can’t remember on what motorway we were but we had pulled into one of the larger service stations to rest up as you do. It was a hot summer and l had to feed and change wee S so we parked in the shade at a more secluded spot in the car park big mistake and never again.
It wasn’t long before a car pulled up beside us, a sleek silver BMW if l remember right. Two well-dressed Italian men not got out and approached us.
They fed us some sorry story that they had been returning from a large trade show up north and were headed back to London to catch a flight home. Unfortunately, while over here they had underestimated the high cost of fuel and therefore needed just enough cash to supply them with petrol and food on their journey south sob sob.
The boot of their car was popped open and one of the men dug down through a pile of leather jackets to find passports for us to verify their ‘identity’. They appeared so credible and their accents were so convincing that I actually felt a bit sorry for them at the time which is the idea.
The boot was tactfully left open to expose the many plastic wrapped leather jackets with designer labels. They pulled out two Gucci leather jackets ha! and offered them at cut price to us, so as to cover their expenses honestly and repay the favour lol. One jacket was whipped out of the wrapping and held up next to me, l was beginning to feel a little uncomfortable at this point and hubby kept shooting suspicious glances. Both of these men were big and intimidating.
“Look at the quality, see the Gucci buttons and labels…bla bla bla.”
We were told that these "designer" jackets would look great on us of course and normally retailed at over £600 each!! One of the men did a little trick next to hubby with a cigarette lighter burning the fabric for some reason- l am still not sure what that was meant to prove ???.
The leather smelled real, the buttons looked genuine but did we really know what a Gucci button looked like? The whole atmosphere was uncomfortable.
So we stuck to our guns and told these guys that we would really like to help them but we just could not afford to buy these jackets. The deal then went down from £200 each to £200 for both. Again we refused and told them we did not carry that much cash get the message.

Looking back now l can see how things were getting out of control and to top it off the next suggestion they made was for hubby to go to a cash machine and get money from our account; leaving me alone with these two strangers and baby S no way! Red warning flags were flying and we were both looking to get out of this situation and quick! Never again would we park so far away from the station forecourt!
The two guys got back into their car as if to reassess the options left to them. Hubby took advantage of this and drove us away pronto!!

While we watched this fraud dramatized and exposed on TV last night we were pleased that we had managed to get away unscathed. Things could have got much worse. Hubby could have been escorted to the cash machine while baby S and l were held hostage- you never know!

See below the leather jacket stitch-up. Although not quite the same as the story above ~ you get the idea.
If it’s too good to be true ~ it probably is!



8 comments:

smileymamaT said...

Holy Mackerel! I wouldlike to see that show over here, I am always wary of schemes like this...once my mother and I were driving in Virginia and stopped at a light, and the car behind us kind of gently rolled into us....the 3 big men in the car looked at us but did not get out...I decided this was a perfect setup for a carjacking, and I did not get out either, just locked the doors and waited! They never approached us. You just never know.

Susie said...

Sounds like a fascinating show! Glad you two held your ground and escaped without being swindled.
I don't understand the burning of the leather either???
xoxo

Lorraine said...

Yikes!

PEA said...

Oh wow! I'm the type that doesn't get convinced very easily because I've always learned that what looks too good to be true, probably is! So, they would have a very hard time getting me to buy anything!! lol How scary, though, for you and hubby to have an encounter with those two hustlers...as you said, goodness knows how bad things could have gotten!!! Yikes!!! xoxo

Betty said...

Horizon, what a scary episode...it certainly could have had a different ending....my husband says I am paranoid about strangers...I tell him if more ladies were they might not be in the cemetery.....

What a sweet picture of you and your Mom in the rain....treasure each moment with her...my Mom passed away in l989.......Betty

Sorlil said...

that's a lovely pic of you and mum below!

Betty said...

Horizon,

I selected you for the Reflection Blogger Award....the details will be on my Saturday blog.....Betty

Kerri said...

That's a scary story. So glad you escaped unscathed, with purses intact.
BTW I forgot to say I love the picture of you and your mum in the rain :) You do have her eyes.

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