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Police: Scammer claims to be mechanic helping a relative

Posted August 27, 2009

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— Rocky Mount police warned residents Thursday to be careful of a scam in which a telephone caller poses as a mechanic or a stranger helping a relative.

Several people recently told police they got a phone call from a person who said they needed cash or a debit card to repair a relative's vehicle. The caller asked to met in the parking lot of grocery stores.

The con artist has gotten away with amounts from $36 to $125, police said. The calls have come at all times of the day.

Police described the con artist as a white man with a beard, under age 25. He drives a truck.

In one such incident, a 42-year-old woman got a call around 8:30 p.m. Wednesday from a man claiming to be a long-lost cousin, police said. The man said his car had broken down and needed $75 to pay the bill from Taylor's Wrecker. He asked her to bring money to the Pizza Inn on Hunter Hill Drive.

The woman, though, became suspicious and asked the caller questions about their family that he couldn't answer, police said.

Taylor's Wrecker staff told police they hadn't been out on such a call and that another woman had reported a similar event.


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  • shakenbake68 Aug 27, 2009

    some scammers hang around gas stations, claiming they are a Christian and need just $5 or $10 worth of gas to get home. To build trust, and to prove they aren't trying to use the money for drugs or alcohol, they suggest the person put $5 or $10 dollars on their pump when they go inside to pay. The scammer waits until the victim leaves the gas station, then he goes inside and tells the attendant the car is full of gas. At that point, the attendant issues a cash refund, since the gas was paid for in cash. I watched a guy do this for an hour at one gas station, he probably made a pretty penny.

  • twc Aug 27, 2009

    Instead of spending so much manpower harassing prostitutes they should spend more time in department store parking lots catching the scammers there. Those people are making it bad on people who really do need help. I see it happening too frequently.

    There favorite approach line is "I'm a Christian and my car just broke down." I've called the police several times since getting scammed once and then discovering it when I went back to help out more than I could at first. I gave him money and went back to help with his car which just happened to be pulling out as I arrived. I followed him to his new location, saw him raise the hood and start approaching people. After I called the police I sat and watched as they talked to him but all they did was make him leave.

  • ohmygosh Aug 27, 2009

    A 90 year old women in Henderson today received a phone call posing as her doctor. He knew the doc's name what meds she was on as well. He wanted to change her medications. She was to send a check for $1000 to an address in the Carribean for the meds. She evidently was convinced the phone call was real. Fortunately, she called my wife. This has been reported to the police and doc's office.

    This poor woman has been scammed several times in the past and doesn't learn from it.

    These guys deserve a public hanging.

  • Tired of thoughtlessness Aug 27, 2009

    This is so sad its funny.

  • mrsgaskill Aug 27, 2009

    Had an experience in the parking lot of Target only it was a woman who needed $80 to pay for a hotel room for the night, otherwise she and her children would be homeless. She was carrying a Bible (most definately as a prop) and said a local church told her if she could come up with the $80, they would pay for the rest of the week. What church tells someone to go out and beg people for money, then come back and we'll give you the rest??? These scammers are EVERYWHERE! Instead of lying and begging in parking lots, they should be inside applying for a job!

  • MileageWarrior Aug 27, 2009

    'hi, ya, im a long lost cousin in need of money for vehicle repair...'

    people actually fall for this??

  • killing_me_softly Aug 27, 2009

    Anyone who falls for this...mm mm mmm...

  • hihuwatlu Aug 27, 2009

    If you're going to give money to strangers, give through reputable charitable organizations or your church. There are plenty of homeless shelters and soup kitchens that can make sure the money or the food and services the money can buy gets to those who need it and not to scammers. If people have to go to those places to get help, they are more likely to get help with their addictions or mental illnesses that are likely contributing to their problems.

  • hihuwatlu Aug 27, 2009

    and people have actually fallen for this?

  • Nope Aug 27, 2009

    I had a guy come up to me in the home depot parking lot and say he lost his wallet and needed cash to get home to charlotte (I think) I said no. He had his car in the lane of the parking lot and he sped off right after that so I couldn't get his plate #.