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'Crying Amtrak Girl' scams people from Davis to Vacaville

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The Straight Story Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Jun-01-10 11:40 AM
Original message
'Crying Amtrak Girl' scams people from Davis to Vacaville
'Crying Amtrak Girl' scams people from Davis to Vacaville


DAVIS, CA -- Dozens of people say they've given away their hard-earned money to help a young woman out of a jam, but her hard-luck story may have been a ruse.

People who have seen her and dug into their wallets and purses share the same story. The "Crying Amtrak Girl" who also goes by the name Amber walks up to stranger and tells them she broke up with her abusive boyfriend and needs $40 for a train ticket home to see her parents.

But after internet bloggers exchanged stories, the scam has now been posted on Wikipedia and Facebook. Nearly 24 people have logged their encounters on DavisWiki.

"Yes, she was believable," said Kamal Lansfer who gave Amber $5 to $10 when she approached him outside of a Safeway store.

"She was definitely crying. That was what actually hooked me," said UC Davis student Vinet Kurootik. "I pitched in 25 bucks, whatever I had at the time."

The crying girl is now reportedly approaching parents with children at grocery stores during the day.

http://www.news10.net/news/story.aspx?storyid=82568&cat...
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HiFructosePronSyrup Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Jun-01-10 11:40 AM
Response to Original message
1. This scam is older than the hills.
:shrug:
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zipplewrath Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Jun-01-10 11:48 AM
Response to Reply #1
6. Got me 25 years ago
Slightly different story, same basic scam. Sick child, just started at work, it was a Saturday, needed gas money to get to the hospital in the next town. Got me for $25. About a year later, saw his photo in a newspaper, busted for some similar scam.

Only felt so bad. The story WAS very credible, and I'da hated to found out the reverse so to speak. It did teach me a few things about avoiding scams though. For example, suggest you go buy "Ambers" ticket for her (nonrefundable of course). I've done it with more than one homeless person. Offered to walk down the block to the diner and buy them a meal. They're never interested.
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Maraya1969 Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Jun-01-10 02:06 PM
Response to Reply #6
40. You know I bet if you just asked to see their driver's license they'd
back off. Of course this girl could have said she was too young to have one so my that situation I don't know what to do with.

I used to not want to give to a homeless person if I thought they were alcoholic or drug addicted and have done the same thing in the Port Authority in NY, offered to buy them a meal.

Then I read some man's account of his experience to voluntarily become homeless for a week and now I give to everyone. Because I do not know what they are going to do with the money and even if they are going to buy drugs or alcohol until they get into a detox they NEED to buy drugs or alcohol. (I've taken people to detox centers and bought them alcohol on the way there so they wouldn't go into DT's. or just if it gets them in by being a little toasted.)

The other reason is it is better to get fooled by some than leave someone who really needs it behind. Grant it I would be care with someone who came up to me from nowhere and would try to get some identification.
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Liberal_in_LA Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Jun-01-10 02:12 PM
Response to Reply #6
44. I gave $20 to help a guy with a flat tire or something car related. Next day he was doing the
same scam others.
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gratuitous Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Jun-01-10 11:42 AM
Response to Original message
2. Think of it as street theater
At least she gives a performance for her money. What do the Wall Street Robber Barons provide? And who costs more?
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Orsino Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Jun-01-10 12:54 PM
Response to Reply #2
27. While I don't want to harden my heart quite that much...
...I have to agree with you. I figure that anyone who needs money badly enough to put on that show may need a little help--even if the story is a lie.
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Blue_Tires Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Jun-01-10 02:15 PM
Response to Reply #27
45. that's my philosophy as well...
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wtmusic Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Jun-01-10 11:42 AM
Response to Original message
3. This is news? nt
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lpbk2713 Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Jun-01-10 11:43 AM
Response to Original message
4. Did she wink and say "you betcha" a lot ?



I think it's a family characteristic.


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zonkers Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Jun-01-10 11:47 AM
Response to Original message
5. I guess people are inately good and want to help others. Too bad she's a scammer. I
hope it does not deter others from acts of kindness.

I have noticed that the ones that never ask for help that need it most.
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onehandle Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Jun-01-10 11:48 AM
Response to Original message
7. A universal centuries old scam. Works like a Mad Lib.
Just insert totally different persons, places, needs, and sob stories.

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DefenseLawyer Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Jun-01-10 11:49 AM
Response to Original message
8. Wait a second... you mean some of those guys might not have been needing milk for their babies?
I tend to give money to people that ask for it, as I have some and they probably don't; but I certainly don't base it on how sincere they seem. What am I, the great Pumpkin?
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JoeyT Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Jun-02-10 12:55 AM
Response to Reply #8
46. Same here.
I figure if 10 or 20 bucks out of every hundred that I give to people with sob stories actually goes to buy milk for kids or gas to get back to a sick wife, then it was money well spent. Especially since most of them are only hitting me up for 5 or 10 bucks at a time.
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David__77 Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Jun-01-10 11:52 AM
Response to Original message
9. I live not too far from here and there's another odd scam happening.
There is a girl with a false pregnancy tummy under her clothes wandering the streets with an older man asking for rides to places, but, I presume, she was really wanting money. I've been asked multiple times in different places. There are weirder and weirder things like this happening.
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Bitwit1234 Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Jun-01-10 01:46 PM
Response to Reply #9
34. Remember when all those guys
were standing with signs begging for money because they lost their jobs and needed to feed their family. Well my son worked for a company where he could hire someone to drive and deliver things. While he parked in the parking lot, I walked over and gave the guy a note and told him to call the number and he would get a job guaranteed. After I turned my back, my son saw him crumple the note and throw it away. I was so outraged, I wanted to go back and confront him. But what I did was tell people about it and they stopped giving him money.
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Speck Tater Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Jun-01-10 11:52 AM
Response to Original message
10. I simply can't be scammed this way. I'm always WAAAY too broke to be able to give away money. nt
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Quantess Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Jun-01-10 01:31 PM
Response to Reply #10
31. LOL, same here.
That's a silver lining to our cloud, I guess.
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jp11 Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Jun-01-10 11:55 AM
Response to Original message
11. I wouldn't give money to a crying women, that seems sexist to me.
Now a crying man, I'll pay to make that stop, all of a quarter.
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Brickbat Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Jun-01-10 01:22 PM
Response to Reply #11
29. Snerk.
Welcome to DU! :hi:
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hedgehog Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Jun-01-10 12:09 PM
Response to Original message
12. I figure kharma will reward me for being kind. What happens to the scammers
is up to kharma.
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Arkansas Granny Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Jun-01-10 12:15 PM
Response to Reply #12
16. That's the way I see it, too. I've probably been scammed a few times, but
I only give an amount that I can afford. If they use it for the purpose intended, that's great and I'm happy I could help someone who really needed it. If they don't, it's on their conscience, not mine.
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sammytko Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Jun-01-10 02:10 PM
Response to Reply #16
42. i'll give a dollar or so to people who ask
karma
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Commie Pinko Dirtbag Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Jun-01-10 12:10 PM
Response to Original message
13. "Sure. Let's go over there and I'll but the ticket/milk//burger/whatever for you."
Works wonders.
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blondeatlast Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Jun-01-10 12:14 PM
Response to Reply #13
15. That's how I do it. On occasion, they've been for real, but mostly
they scurry away.

It's worth it just for the ones who were for real, though.
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Commie Pinko Dirtbag Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Jun-01-10 12:19 PM
Response to Reply #15
18. There may be some intermediate cases.
"Well, what I REALLY want is money, but who am I to refuse a free burger? Yum!"
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OneTenthofOnePercent Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Jun-01-10 01:53 PM
Response to Reply #13
38. Homeless looking guy in cleveland asked for money for food once...
Lucky for him I was on my way to eat dinner. I invited him to join me.
Told him to order whatever he wanted. We ate and talked. :tup:
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KittyWampus Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Jun-01-10 12:11 PM
Response to Original message
14. LIRR is filled with people running this sort of scam.
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Retrograde Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Jun-01-10 12:42 PM
Response to Reply #14
25. A lot of places are
Airports used to attract a lot of them before security got tight. I got hit up at the local commuter train station by someone asking for money so she could get to her new job. I had gotten laid off the day before and wasn't in a particularly sympathetic mood: I asked her to buy my ticket since she was the one employed.
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Mz Pip Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Jun-01-10 12:17 PM
Response to Original message
17. Got hit up on the subway today
She made an effort to hit all the points - she said she was a a widow with two kids who lost her job. Then she continued on with how she doesn't drink or do drugs of any kind. Lots of god bless yous in her speech as well. A couple of people in the car gave her some money. She got off at the next stop, probably to move on to another train or to another car.

It could have been true, but I thought her story was a bit too much to be believable.
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droidamus2 Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Jun-01-10 12:19 PM
Response to Original message
19. The one I liked
It is a variant where a guy approaches you and says he ran out of gas and needs to get his family to the next town for, you pick it, medical reasons, dying parent, whatever. First question should be how long have you had your vehicle, do you know what kind of mileage it gets, did you know how far away this place your trying to go to was? If they answer yes to all three then your next statement should be 'what are you an idiot going on the road when you know your going to run out of guess. Weren't your neighbors and friends willing to pitch in so you could get to your destination? They usually don't approach groups they go after one or two people. The way I look at it is if you are so bad off that you have to beg for money and I have a couple of bucks that I can do without then I will give it to you no questions asked, but you give me a stupid sob story that doesn't ring true and you aren't getting anything from me. Basically I don't like being lied to. You would be better off saying 'hey I need a beer' or 'hey I am too lazy to work and would rather beg for money' if you wanted to get money from me.
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CBGLuthier Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Jun-01-10 12:22 PM
Response to Original message
20. It is ALWAYS a scam. ALWAYS.
Edited on Tue Jun-01-10 12:22 PM by CBGLuthier
Not an act of kindness. They laugh at you. Call you sucker. Wonder how people can be so dumb as to fall for their bullshit.

These kind of people and the ones who stand at the intersections started coming out of the woodwork about the same time as I had to start fighting for every dollar earned. Fuck them for thinking they can take hard-earned money with their useless sob stories.

I can be liberal and kind with organized charities. These people are not needy. They are leeches.
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Truth2Tell Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Jun-01-10 01:18 PM
Response to Reply #20
28. nahhh, not leeches.
Just more of the hurt, sick, unemployed, desperate, addicted, struggling refuse of American capitalism. The misery of living on the streets, living with addiction, living on the margins, always struggling for survival - this may be something you cannot fathom. To be in a position in life where you even have to think about these kinds of scams is pretty sad. These people are not getting rich, I promise you that. Most are simply eeking out a survival existence and covering horrible emotional pain with drugs, alcohol, etc. I guarantee that most of the people who hit you up for money live a life you would find hellish.

Sure, most of the stories are lies. Some are not. But almost always the person asking is in a sorry state and your/my help will make their very sad life a tiny bit better. Just the act of being compassionate can have a powerful impact. And on you, the giver, as well.

I often give even when I know I'm being lied to. I understand. It's a fucking cruel world out there and people do what they have to do.

People are not leeches my friend. You will be a less miserable person yourself if you ever figure that out.
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Commie Pinko Dirtbag Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Jun-01-10 02:06 PM
Response to Reply #20
39. No. Not always. See subthread at #13. -nt
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Radical Activist Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Jun-01-10 12:23 PM
Response to Original message
21. I've heard similar stories many times.
I guess it works better when you're an attractive, crying, young white woman.
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paparush Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Jun-01-10 12:24 PM
Response to Original message
22. You know who else runs a scam and fakes crying?
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Junkie Brewster Donating Member (301 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Jun-01-10 01:47 PM
Response to Reply #22
35. You took the words right out of my mouth N/T
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Ratty Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Jun-01-10 12:25 PM
Response to Original message
23. A young woman here was stopping cars in the street, shrieking
This was a few years back. It scared the beejeezus out of me. I thought she'd survived a bad car accident. It was a busy street and she was going up to cars stopped at a light wailing like a banshee. Made me so mad when I found out it was a pitch for money. I'll never forget that.
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CreekDog Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Jun-01-10 12:27 PM
Response to Original message
24. A few times there was a couple at the entrance to the Bay Bridge in SF
I knew their sign was a little fishy when it said, "need money to cross the bridge".

The bridge is 4.8 miles long.

There is no toll in that direction.

The toll is $4 but they were there for quite a while.

:grr:
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stevenleser Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Jun-01-10 12:48 PM
Response to Original message
26. I think I have heard of this before somewhere...
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LeftinOH Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Jun-01-10 01:25 PM
Response to Original message
30. Hang out in any bus station **anywhere** and you'll hear several different variations
of this story. I'm not sure why this particular scammer's m/o even made it to the media.
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formercia Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Jun-01-10 01:42 PM
Response to Original message
32. Vegas is a great place for these scams.
It's sad, really, to see how far some have fallen.
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notadmblnd Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Jun-01-10 01:44 PM
Response to Original message
33. those sort of scams are common aournd these parts.
Seems like there's always someone in the parking lot at local stores claiming that their car broke down or they need gas money.
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GoddessOfGuinness Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Jun-01-10 01:49 PM
Response to Original message
36. I hope, when she lands a gig as an actress,
she makes a hefty donation to a women's shelter.
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LanternWaste Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Jun-01-10 01:51 PM
Response to Original message
37. Although the odds are that I've been scammed....
Although the odds are that I've been scammed more than once, I'm more than happy to maintain that both people as a whole and as individuals will surprise us by doing something good more often than not... contingent of course upon actually recognizing a good deed for what it is.
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Liberal_in_LA Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Jun-01-10 02:08 PM
Response to Original message
41. The 'I need money for a ticket' has been around FOREVER - I was approached
at LA bus stations decades ago.
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KonaKane Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Jun-01-10 02:11 PM
Response to Original message
43. Nothing new here.
I get hit up three or four times a week from some guy who "just got in from LA for a job interview" and he ran out of gas. They can never seem to explain how they made it to Hawaii, rented a car and then somehow are down to begging for gas money in the KTA parking lot.
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AsahinaKimi Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Jun-02-10 01:19 AM
Response to Original message
47. In San Francisco
Once I was heading home, and heading towards a MUNI subway station. On the sidewalk in front of me was a 5 dollar bill and so I picked it up. In front of the station was a homeless person with a sign asking for help, so I gave it to him.

Figured that money belonged to the street anyway, he might as well use it.
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