The Fake Petition Scam
Thieves and scammers make a living preying on the kind hearts and naivete of tourists. Familiarize yourself with this scam and save your money. The Deaf Mute Scam and the Fake Petition Scam typically involves women or young girls as the scammers. Some are pregnant, but on occasion young boys and old men may also use this scam. Women and young girls find this scam as a fairly easy one to get money from unsuspecting tourists.
There are people who are legitimately disabled and may use this method as a way to obtain money. Scammers are exploiting sympathetic feelings of visitors. Sadly, the majority of the women who approach you and identify themselves as a deaf mute, or solicit you with a fake petition are simply trying to scam you and take your money.
Fake Petition Scam and How it Works
When it comes to the Fake Petition Scam, know that the majority of the time the petition the scammer shows you is not official. It is not even a petition. The fake petition will be some type of official looking paper that is asking for some type of donation to a charity. The types of charities vary, but the ones that have the most pull on your heart strings works best for them – those include orphanages, crippled, homeless, deaf, and or blind children charities – it does not matter what is printed on the form. The most devious use the name of an official charity, but the money never goes to them.
The petition is usually in English – which should immediately raise your suspicion as you are in a non-English speaking country. You are being targeted as an tourist. It is only a ruse to swindle you out of your money.
If you give a small donation, many times the scammer will draw your attention to the clipboard they are using that has the petition you signed and point to the part of the form that states “Minimum 2, 3, 5 or even 10 Euros” the scammer will use a paper with different rates depending on how much money they think they can scam you out of. If you refuse or challenge them on the amount, depending on the scammer and how well they think they can pressure you into giving more, some will become belligerent, yell, cuss, and even spit at you.
What’s interesting about the above petition is that you can see how much money people have given – most around ten Euros – or at least that’s what is being shown to the tourist – the scammer could be writing in that amount – or it could it be the true!!!
How the Deaf Mute Scam Works
The scam is straightforward. The scammer approaches the mark (usually a tourist) with a piece of paper and a pen, pretending to be deaf. The paper names a couple of charities, both real and fake, and bears the signatures of a few previous marks. The current mark is asked for money, and if he/she is naive enough, they give money. In some cases, the paper and request for money serve as a distraction for stealing a wallet or purse. As mentioned, most of the time these people are not deaf – they are just acting to prey on a traveller’s sympathy. In Europe, most of these scammers are from former eastern bloc countries, and are usually under 18 years of age.
This scam is committed anywhere tourists can be found. Fortunately there is not so much of this going on here in Benidorm as there is in cities such as Paris where it is a major problem.
THE SOLUTION - JUST SAY NO, AND KEEP WALKING OR COMPLETELY IGNORE THEM IF THEY CATCH YOU DURING A MEAL.