By John Pint
VERSIÓN EN ESPAÑOL
Many of these
scams are regularly described in the pages of The
Guadalajara Reporter. Although they are well known to readers
of that newspaper, I discovered that none of my friends, relatives or
acquaintences had ever heard of them. Unfortunately, one of those
friends recently fell for the "old mustard-on-your-clothes scam" (first
in the list below) inside a Guadalajara supermarket, convincing me that
this list of short descriptions could do a lot of good. You'll find the Spanish translation of these right here.
THERE'S SOMETHING ON YOUR CLOTHES
You are walking around in the supermarket when a well-dressed stranger
comes up to you and tells you there's some kind of liquid all over the
back of your shirt and pants. It may be brown, looking like poop or
red, looking like blood. In reality it is probably mustard or jam. The
stranger offers to help you clean your clothes in the restroom, where a
confederate is waiting. While helping you clean your clothes, they
remove your money and credit cards from your wallet or purse.
WHAT DO YOU THINK ABOUT THIS
This is aimed at women who place their purse in a shopping cart as they
push it around the supermarket. The questioner asking your opinion
about a mango or melon is positioned in such a way that you have to
look away from your shopping cart while you evaluate the fruit...and
while your wallet is removed from your purse.
LIKE SOME ORANGE JUICE?
This takes place on an intercity bus or an airport shuttle bus. You
chat with someone who seems friendly and honest. You accept a
drink or food from that person and wake up hours later minus your
luggage and cash.
CAN I HELP
YOU CHANGE YOUR TIRE?
You drive your car out of the supermarket parking lot, not knowing that
the bad guys have damaged one of your tires...just enough so it will go
flat after a few blocks. The criminals follow you and when the tire
goes flat they appear and offer to help you change it. While you look
at the tire with them, an accomplice jumps into your car and steals
your valuables...and—if the key is in the ignition—your car as well.
You are wandering about a big department store, nowhere near the
Cosmetics area. Nevertheless, you come upon a well-dressed woman with a
tray of samples. She invites you to smell a new brand of perfume, which
turns out to be chloroform. You fall unconscious and wake up without
your money and credit cards.
A HELPING HAND AT THE ATM
are waiting in line to use an ATM. Someone else in the line says
something may be wrong with your card. You let the stranger look at it.
When you arrive at the ATM, you discover the card you are now holding
is a worthless fake.
You are heading for
your car in the supermarket parking lot. If you happen to have a purse
or laptop hanging from a strap on your shoulder, you may be stopped by
a person asking for directions to some well-known place in town. The
idea is to distract you so a confederate on foot or on a motorcycle,
can sneak up behind you and make off with your handbag or computer. You
will probably not be thanked for giving good directions.