I'm writing to alert the residents of the area of a possible scam. My wife and I were out walking in our neighborhood Saturday night when a visibly distraught woman in a beat-up red four-door sedan stopped in the middle of the block and called to us on the sidewalk. We walked over to her passenger window to see what was wrong and she told us she got an emergency call that her mother was sent to the hospital in the Poconos. Crying, the woman explained she didn't have enough gas to get out to Pennsylvania. She asked if we could spare $15 for gas, promising us she would pay us back if we gave her our address. My wife suggested she contact the police. She said she'd done that and they offered no help. She was in such a state - having a near breakdown - that we ended up giving her the money, telling her to take care of her family. We didn't give her our address.
The next day we heard from a neighbor that a woman was at the Pathmark the same day, doing the same thing: asking passersby for gas money. It's possible it was the same woman and her mother truly was in the hospital. But then I heard from another friend who got the same story from a woman in a white sedan at a gas station on the NY Thruway: this time it was her daughter in the hospital. He didn't give her any money.
We'd like to think that most people are honest and maybe it's a coincidence that these women - all in different places - had the same problem: gas IS expensive these days. But I'm writing to ask your readers to think twice before they hand cash to an upset woman in a car.