Frauds in the city

by phoxis

Frauds are spread all over the city. In the streets a very common way to make money from people is to stop someone and for ask money as the probably fraudulent person have lost their purse and they need some money for transportation to get back home. I believe this kind of fraud exists across the globe. In my city I have experienced such kind of people myself countless number of times, and my custom is not to give any money to these people and point them to the police. Generally they are well dressed and well spoken and also communicate in English (which is a second or a third language here). It is really very difficult to determine which person has really lost their purse and who is pretending. Now, we can get to know about it, if we really want to, by taking them to the nearest police booth or station, but who has that much time and enthusiasm?

Age is not a bar in this fraud-business. I myself met elderly people twice asking for money. One of them asked me for money for the bus fare. When I go out for a walk, I generally do not carry any money and neither I carry a mobile-phone, until recently. Therefore showing the pocket inside out is enough answer for the person, and he moves on. Another elderly man asked me for 1 or 2 rupees, because he will make a call to home from a public telephone booth and get help. I think this person was in genuine problem, because there is no point to ask for such low amount of money. I gave him the coin I had in my pocket.

Once I was walking when a boy came running towards me yelling at me to stop. He stopped in front of me and puffed and panted, after he stabilized he told that he has lost everything and want some money to get back home. I showed him the pocket. Next he asked for my mobile-phone so that he can call home. At that time I did not own a mobile-phone and so he wasn’t able get that too. He told be both sorry and thank you and went away.

I have encountered such people several times in busy crossings, main roads, busy areas of the city, where they can simply go to the traffic police and ask for help, they come to other people, probably innocent looking people.

Yesterday I did a test. I was walking back home, and I had both money and my mobile-phone, as I was actually hanging out with a friend. A boy walked down from the opposite direction and suddenly stopped me. He didn’t look like he was from the city, and probably from a different state. He told me that he was studying something and staying in a hostel, and he is new in this place, and he has lost his purse, and he would appreciate if I help him. I asked what kind of help. He, in a different way, described the same thing and then again asked for help. I again asked, what kind of help. He asked for money now. He had a mobile-phone in hand, and we were in a central location in the city. If I was him, I would utilize the mobile-phone by calling up home or friends (in the hostel) and call for support. Or, would go to the traffic police hubs for support, or ask people for the direction of the nearest police station, instead of asking for money. May be I am not in such situation so I cannot realize. I asked how much of money, he was repeatedly telling me how embarrassed and awkward he is feeling while asking for money, but he has no choice. While he was describing things I was looking around for if there was a gang who will try to loot me, which is also a common kind of crime in this city. I again asked how much money, and now he told 70 or 80 rs. He also told that he will recharge my mobile-phone balance with whatever I give to him. The amount of money was too much, within the city that much money is not needed if you travel in public bus, auto rickshaw, the underground metro, tram etc. Taxi is the only way you can get beyond that amount on fare.

By default, I try to believe people. I thought to make an experiment, the first time, I gave out the money. He took it, thanked me, noted down my mobile-phone number and my name, shook hands with me, and hugged he and bid goodbye and went away. He never said his name, he didn’t give me his mobile-phone number or a missed call to my number, which is a general habit of people who take the mobile-phone number and test it if it is working and also to give his/her number. I walked away.

Till now I haven’t received the promised recharge or even a call or an sms, although I do not expect one. Therefore the thing is you don’t shell out a single unit of currency to any person, regardless of in whatever problem they are in, do not give a single rupee to a beggar, they may be used by begging mafias and all your money sponsor different kinds of illegal activities. Don’t lend some friend or acquaintance, they may never return it. Don’t pay taxes, the government officials may use them for their own purpose and build mansions for themselves and fill in their Swiss bank accounts. There are a lot more false cases that the number of true cases, which does not mean to stop helping people because most of the time they are fraud. Yes, most of the times the help may go to the wrong people, but some times, the help will go to the right person, who really needed the support. We need to be only a bit careful about what we are doing, but we should not stop helping people.