Just when you think you’ve heard it all, scam artists come up with new and increasingly creative ways to ply their craft. Witness the case of one senior couple from Forest Hills, who on April 11 were duped out of $20 by a woman with a long, complicated tale of woe.
The husband and wife, who wished to remain anonymous, have lived in the neighborhood for 17 years without incident. They came forth to share their story as a warning to other senior citizens, who are often seen as easy targets.
“Walking north on 66th Road, heading toward 102nd Street, around 11 p.m., we approached a young man walking a very friendly dog,” the wife explained. He had been speaking with a woman in her late 30s or early 40s.
The woman, who claimed to be a nurse and gave her name as Amy, approached the pair and showed them a practical nurse’s license as proof of her identity.
“Amy” told the couple she had locked herself out of her apartment. Her father had just died in the hospital across the street.
“She said she needed $20 for the Long Island Rail Road to get her house keys from her mother and then come back and pick up her 2-month-old,” the husband said. “She claimed that a rabbi was with the body of her father.”
“She would return our money the next morning and took our phone number,” the wife continued. “She then received a call on her cell phone, purportedly from her mother.”
The woman told her “mother” she would be at her house soon.
The wife added, “She indicated that her father was in a relationship with an Asian woman, possibly to explain why her mother was not at the hospital.”
The couple gave the woman the money she requested and went home.
They realized they’d been taken “only when I wondered why she would be carrying her LPN license around as ID,” the wife said. “Of course, we then poked holes in her whole story and are not anxiously awaiting her phone call.”
“Wow! Were we ever suckered,” the husband admitted. “We are sure we’re not the only victims here.”
The pair, who said they have never fallen for such a scam before, believe that, by and large, they live in “a very safe neighborhood.” From now on, they said, “We will keep on walking, but we will continue to support reputable organizations.”
Their warning: “Beware of multifaceted hard-luck stories and refer them to the nearest hospital or police station for emergency funds. Also beware of anyone asking questions about religion and volunteering any information about their religion.”