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What a fine day it was in the city. I decided to take a walk along the bustling streets of the business district. It's fascinating to see and to look at the skyscrapers and the ambitious buildings left and right. The sun was just right, it was not too hot, and it was not too humid that it allows you to pace around and about without the hindrance of umbrella and the hovering clouds.
I have put my hands in my pocket and I was able to feel some loose change inside. And then I decided to phone up a friend if she was available and walked up to a payphone near a fountain. I grabbed the telephone receiver and placed it on my ear and was supported by my shoulder. I inserted the corresponding coins to the slot and then dialed the number.
Hearing the ringing of the phone from the other side sends tingles to my bones and I was elated when I heard my buddy's voice spoke up when she picked up the phone from the other line. At that time I was just thinking how wonderful of an invention telephones are. Just imagine, how much time I have saved by just walking up to a payphone instead of going to and from her place. It feels like magic talking to a person who was miles apart and hearing them loud and clear through this phone.
"Hey. Are you free to go out? Let's meet up on the pub on 8th street."
"Drinking again, really? At this hour of the day?" she snapped at me.
"What? Are you out?" I asked her teasingly.
"Of course I'm in you idiot. I'll be there in a couple of hours. It's your treat damn it." she said and the line went dead with a succession of beeps.
With some coins on my pocket I was able to talk to a friend that was living a few miles from where I was. It's amazing. Everything's looking up for the 80's.
I decided to phone another again and did the same routine. He picked up on the other side and we were talking about the game we're gonna see tomorrow. As I was talking on the phone, there's this guy that walked up to me and held me on my arms.
I turned over to my side to look up at the guy and he was evidently drunk. His disheveled clothing hinted me that he was a homeless guy. He was holding some small coins on his right hand and a deposit slip and an envelope on the left hand.
He was continuously tagging at my shirt against my plead of waiting for a minute. I hanged up the phone and talked to him. And he told me an interesting story.
He told me that he picked up the envelope on the side of the street. And inside was the deposit slip with Dr. Eric Stone on the name. Alongside with the slip were the neatly and individually packed coins. From an untrained eye, they looked like old but well preserved coins.
He implored me to help him give the coins back to this Dr. Stone. He said that they looked really valuable and he must bring them back to Dr. Stone at all cost.
I looked at my surroundings and once again observed the guy. I did not feel any sense of danger or harm from the scenario and it allowed me to feel a little bit helpful.
I agreed to phone Dr. Stone and we dialed the number. A few rings and I was connected to a guy with a deep and dignified voice. I told him the situation since the guy adamantly refused to talk to the Dr. over the phone. The Dr. in turned thank me repeatedly and told me how much those coins would really cost. Apparently, in total those coins cost a total of $1000.
Dr. Stone was thanking me endlessly and he suggested that I just give the guy $100 for his troubles and I bring him the coins myself and he'll pay me handsomely.
After the phone conversation, I felt a bit guilty taking advantage of the poor guy and I explained to him. He shrugged and he was insistent that he's okay with that. And since I was already feeling good I gave him a hundred bucks that I withdrew from the bank and sent the guy away. It really felt good doing a good deed while making some money on the side.
I went to the address of Dr. Stone in the upper eastside and I was immediately mesmerized by the facade of the building where he lived. I was met by the doorman and I asked for Dr. Stone. He shook his head and then I asked for a Mr. Stone. And just like his first response, he shook his head and then he added.
"There's no Dr. Stone here. I am afraid that you have been a victim of a scam."
"Scam? Me? What are you talking about?"
"You're not the first one to look for him here in this building, let me guess, you have some coins to return to him right?"
"Oh my you're..."
And with that I realized what had just happened. I was a fool. I was played like a fiddle by that guy and his accomplice. They had me. And now I was a $100 poorer.
My friend and I talked it over drinks and she was laughing right at my face.
This story is based loosely on the story featured on Unsolved Mysteries about the same and identical scam. Apparently, millions of people in America has fallen victim to the scam. I think that this was a classic and old school scam that will hardly work in today's age. But of course, scams now are smarter and more high-tech.
Have you fallen in a scam, or are you aware of some of the most interesting scams circulating around today?
May we all be aware and steer clear from those kind of scams.