Street Scammer Targets Old City Area - DC News FOX 5 DC WTTG

Street Scammer Targets Old City Area

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PHILADELPHIA -

"He told me his wife was going to have a miscarriage," she recalls.

A FOX 29 employee who we're not identifying admits she should have known better. But the story was too convincing not to help.

"He had the whole package. His looks. He was clean cut. He knew what he was saying. Sweet talker," she reflects.

She says this man approached her when she was leaving the parking lot at Penn's Landing. He claimed to be a Dean at Villanova University. We checked. He's not. He asked her for 43 dollars to get his car out of a lot. She gave him $50. He even walks her down Market Street. Then he's seen running away.

"I just saw him running and that was my first instinct when I said I was scammed," she remembers.

It turns out she wasn't the only one. Just an hour later on the same block. Another person called police saying she got taken for money. The description was identical. And 6 months ago, it happened to another woman in old city.

"Was very frantic saying his wife was going into labor and he needed money for a cab fare," the woman recalls.

Philadelphia Police Detective Steven Parkinson says street scams are nothing new. In fact this is the latest in a long list of street crimes targeting vulnerable people in high volume areas. If it sounds too good to be true. It probably is.

"Well dressed. Good demeanor. It just makes you trust them. And sometime people have sympathy. but certain individuals are usually targeted. It's usually females and the elderly," says Detective Parkinson.

This employee found that out the hard way.

"[I feel] like an idiot," she says as she laughs.

She shouldn't feel too bad. She's not the only one to be scammed. Many of these scams go unreported because victims are too embarrassed to come forward.

Scams go under colorful names like the pigeon drop, the sweetheart scam, or the postage paid scams. We have a list of common scams and tips to avoid scams on our website.

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