This happened to me in my own Philly, as my wife and I were going downtown on a date. We were getting off the subway, and a young guy asked if I could break a $50 dollar bill, as they wouldn’t accept it for a subway token and he had to get home. He had it folded up, but it looked real, and I did have change, so I got it out of my wallet. I grabbed the bill and opened it to make sure it was legit, and it was so old and decrepit it fell in half. He wanted compensation as I had just “ripped his 50 in half”. I’m not sure it real or not, but I gave it back to him, and just gave him $3 for a subway token. He still wanted $50 of change for the $50 I “ripped”, but I squared up to him and my sympathetic autonomic system kicked into overdrive, and he eventually scrammed.

I read about this from other people on some local Philly blogs happening to other people as well. I can only imagine what would’ve happened if it were just my wife, so my advice, be VERY selective in who you help out.

Posted by glenn | 7 Comments

7 responses to “New Tourist Scam”

  1. Gene says:

    Sadly……Help no one on the street. That’s what government and churches are there for.

  2. Noah says:

    Not that it helps this scam, but even broken bills are accepted at banks as long as the green numbers match or you have 2/3 or more of one bill.


  3. Joey says:

    Living in NYC, I agree with Gene. If you’re a taxpayer, part of your taxes goes to help those in need.

    In his case — he can always just go to a bank to break the $50.

  4. DaninMCI says:

    I hate people bugging my on the street even if they are legit and just asking for a hand out. It makes me a bad person I guess but I’m also afraid of being scammed. I think what bothers me the most is not the money I might lose but that I was too stupid not to see it coming.

  5. Andrew says:

    I’m sorry you almost got ripped off, although I entirely disagree with people who think helping no one is the best policy in life. It’s okay to minimize risk, but I refuse to live in a world where I outsource human all compassion to the government and churches. I live in DC and travel to dangerous countries frequently. While I’ve regretted not listening to my instincts or safety advisories, I’ve never regretted offering help.

  6. DJ says:

    “I entirely disagree with people who think helping no one is the best policy in life.” that’s right the bible says no killing & giving the other half you have, so lets keep giving to illegals & scammers until you are broke.

  7. Andy says:

    @everyone – I have to say I agree mostly with Andrew (not just because he’s shares an amazing first name). I LOVE helping people, when it’s actually helping. When I have take-out food from a nice restaurant, and see a homeless person, and make their day when I give it to them, I love that feeling. I’m willing to occasionally lose $3 by getting scammed than to never try to help anyone at all.

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