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Rangeviews

By Peggy Sanders
Rangeviews, Oral, S.D.

A video series from which I have learned a great deal is available on YouTube and the show is “The Real Hustle.” If you decide to watch it, begin with Episode 1 where you will see this disclaimer, “Remember all of the people in the shows have been hustled for real, and after they were given their money back, they agreed the footage could be shown, so you can avoid being ripped off by the same scams.”

In other words, these are interesting educational videos.

The scammers are skilled and smooth; the marks are unsuspecting. They are also British so you have to pay attention when any of the characters speak; they don’t use American English, which adds to the “niceness” of the so-called perpetrators. Such sweet, well dressed, well-mannered, kind people could not be up to no good—but they are. The cons cover the gambit from selling used cars through an advertisement to selling a laptop and swapping out an empty box to impersonating police and utilities servicemen. The ‘bad guys’ wear the correct uniforms as needed, to be convincing.

I was recently a mark for a shyster and here’s the story. The last time I went to the north Walmart in Rapid City to stock up was in late February. I placed my purchases in the back of my SUV. As soon as I was finished and put my cart away, a middle-aged guy approached me nicely and told me his story. Could I spare some money so he could buy his wife and child some food? He had just started a job, he said, but it would be three weeks before he would be paid. He seemed so nice and honest, and I decided I’d rather take a chance he wasn’t lying and give him some money in case he truly needed it. So I did.

In the ensuing months I have been shopping close to home and keeping a list of items I couldn’t get locally. Last week I made another foray to the same Walmart, again to fill my list. I placed my purchases in the back of my SUV.As soon as I was finished and put my cart away, a middle-aged guy approached me nicely and told me his story. (Yes, the same words appear in each paragraph.) The man led with he needed money to buy food for his wife and child. Exactly the same words he said the first time. I said to him, “You hit me up several months ago with the same spiel. Why don’t you get a job?” And he replied, “I had just started a job but it will be three weeks before I will be paid.” Again, the exact words he used the first time. Then I was sure I had been had.

It is obvious that he is a frequent panhandler and probably makes good money, though he’ll never get any more from me.


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I have been rather preoccupied lately and haven’t been writing my editor’s note. So, for those who have called and emailed to make sure I’m still on this Earth, I’m still here.



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