FAKES & SCAMS

Marc: When my family was in Israel and my Dad bought outdated Palestinian currency. In the Arab market you could buy old Palestinian coins by the pound. They were totally worthless as currency.
Melinda: and he thought they were worth something?
Marc: No he found a quarter in his pocket and found one that was the exact diameter and almost exactly the right weight. So he bought a pound, which was only a couple of bucks, they didn't work in anything but they did work in parking meters.

Marc: Once I tried that one where you put pieces of cellophane tape on dollar bills and yank them back out of soda machines.
Melinda: Did that work?
Marc: I could never get it to work.
(laughter)
Marc: But the people who could get it to work, of course, cleaned out the machines.

Marc: My friend Morgan had one of those people who came to his door and claimed to be his neighbor and needing money to buy medication for her baby. He gave like 10 bucks and I said to him y'know that's probably not your neighbor. He had a really hard time believing that it might have been fake.
Melinda: Sometimes it's better to just believe.

Marc: Once when I was working at the Art Institute downtown, it was a Sunday morning when the Loop is completely dead but there was also a marathon going on that day. I drove down and was really lucky and found a parking spot on LaSalle. This guy came running up to me or he was just sort of nearby and said - "Oh man you mean you have to work on Sunday also?" Like we're the only people who have to work downtown on a Sunday at 8:30 in the morning. I'm like, "Yeah man I work at the Art Institute, the place never closes." He says, "I do too but where did you park today because I parked on Columbus and I didn't know about the marathon and I'm down there working in the mailroom." He explains how, "they make me come in on Sunday because if we don't sort all of the mail on Saturday it piles up and then on Monday we're totally swamped. Right now I'm trying to get to my car because it was towed. It was towed by Phillips Towing," and he pulls out a piece of paper which has all the towing information. Which I knew from working at the Art Institute was the exact towing company which tows from behind the museum. He was trying to get me to front him money, for cab and towing fees. He asked what part of the museum I worked in he said that he would come up on his break and come up to the counter. He told me his name. I gave him like two dollars, there was no way I could give him the seventy five bucks that he wanted. When I got to work it dawned on me that there was no way in hell that he worked at the Art Institute. I looked in the employee directory and he wasn't there. And just to prove to myself that this guy has scammed me I went on the computer into the employee database because maybe he was hired recently and he wasn't there either.
(laughter)
Melinda: So do people really work in the mailroom on Sunday?
Marc: I never checked.
(laughter)

Marc: Someone once told me about a scam that happened to a family who parked in the parking garage below the MCA. Evidentially a man, normal looking guy, wearing a baseball hat, polo shirt - went up to the parking booth attendant. He asked if they could raise the wooden arm for about 15 minutes because they were doing some electrical work and were going to have to turn off the power and that way cars could go in and out of the lot. So the person raised the wooden beam. Then the person approached an Asian family that had been traveling cross country from California in a van- they had all their stuff in this van. So he approached them and said, "We're doing some work on the pipes over where you parked. We don't want your car to get damaged when we start opening up some of the pipes. So you'll need to give us your keys so we can move your car so it doesn't get damaged. They were, of course, concerned about their car so they gave him the key and he drove right out of the lot.

 

- Marc Fischer