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Possible motorway gas station scam

I was lucky!

Monark540
post 25.Mar.2013, 07:51 PM
Post #1
Location: Stockholm
Joined: 20.Mar.2009

Was driving through Germany this past weekend on my way to Croatia for Easter vacation and pulled into a gas station. After filling the tank and paying, I moved the car to the side of the station. While I was getting something out of the back, I noticed that the driver of a nearby car was gesturing to me to approach him, perhaps a dozen meters in front of my car. His window was rolled down and he had an open map. He saw my Swedish number plates and in English said that he was from Italy, managing director of a company, etc. I threw him off when I said that I was an American living in Sweden. Car was not a late model nor high-end and he needed a shave.

At any rate, after introducing his front seat passenger to me, he began to speak further and at this point my wife returned to the car from behind the station. Seeing her, he immediately drove away.

At best, I think he would have asked me for a "loan" and worst case, used the map and questions about directions as a pretext for letting the air out of my tires, etc. and then offering "assistance"on down the road.

Anyone else ever experience this or something similar? I think that we were lucky!
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snarky
post 25.Mar.2013, 08:34 PM
Post #2
Joined: 22.Jan.2013

That is creepy! No experience like this personally, well in the states I have, but not here, lol.

But kinda on this topic and (I am not saying you weren't thinking logical in your story btw).

I always think about how much paranoia I have and how I don't see that trait in Swedish people that often. I have thought about this so many times - is it just me, is it because the culture is so different here than in the states, etc. For example, it is nothing to be walking around in the forest at night here, it doesn't seem there is any fear of anything. Versus me, who feels it is creepy as hell. Another example, people just leave their purse and belongings laying around with no care in the world. I have many more examples, but this gives you the idea to what I am referring to. I also realize that I live in a rural area (but even in the bigger city I live by they do this), so this probably affects my judgments a bit.

Do you think your Swedish wife would have been on this same thought process of you if she had experienced it and not you? I don't think my sambo would have, he is a jolly fella and probably just thought they needed help with no second thought about it.
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Monark540
post 25.Mar.2013, 09:01 PM
Post #3
Location: Stockholm
Joined: 20.Mar.2009

Funny, that. A month ago she had her purse stolen while having lunch with friends in Stureplan. And a week or so ago, while having a coffee in Söderhallarna, a guy came by with a map and after asking a few questions, my wife's companion's mobile was gone from the table!

So, yeah, its not just me. Having said that, I feel very safe in Sweden but am now, I hope, a little more aware of my surroundings no matter where in the world I find myself.
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polartwist
post 25.Mar.2013, 09:09 PM
Post #4
Joined: 5.Feb.2013

Oh my God! The guy was on a car with Italian plate! Not so new, not so old! Holding a map! And he needed a shave!
Come on, I think there is a little bit of racism in this post. Isn't it?
And you must have a huge imagination to describe in such details what could have happened...
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snarky
post 25.Mar.2013, 09:10 PM
Post #5
Joined: 22.Jan.2013

It's quite interesting, isn't it?!

I remember once my sambo and I were in a major downtown city in the US (at night) and this guy comes up to us just being weird and I told my sambo to just get in the car and ignore him. Well the weird guy kept talking to my sambo and my sambo I guess didn't want to be rude, well finally I had to kinda yell and say just get in the car in a pretty urgent tone. Anyway, my tone of voice was apparently enough to scare the shit out of my sambo because he was so freaked out and jumped in the car right away. Later, I had to explain to him that we don't talk to strangers in the middle of a downtown not so good area at night, plain and simple. I explained he could have been trying to rob us, or who knows. Anyway, we laugh about it now, but still!
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Monark540
post 25.Mar.2013, 09:19 PM
Post #6
Location: Stockholm
Joined: 20.Mar.2009

Actually, I don't recall his number plate and am only repeating what he told me. I personally wear a beard and most of the Italian MDs that I know look the part of a senior executive, which imho he did not.

At any rate, a friend's father had his car stolen after having gassed up and then been engaged in conversation while a tire was deflated. A mile or so down the road they met again and relieved him of his car. And from what I recall, the perps were not Italian.

Not racist, not paranoid, just feeling lucky and thought that this would either shed more light on the latest scams and/or enable other travellers to avoid problems.
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polartwist
post 25.Mar.2013, 09:22 PM
Post #7
Joined: 5.Feb.2013

Monark540, you know what's the point? I also have a car, not old not new, with Italian plate and my beard also needs a shave wink.gif
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skogsbo
post 25.Mar.2013, 09:25 PM
Post #8
Joined: 20.Sep.2011

it's more probable that he waits until he thinks you have put the keys in the ignition, then beckons your over, meanwhile a friend of his, steps into your car and drives it off. He remains unconnected to the crime and whilst you are flustered, he'll probably disappear too. It's just distraction con.
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Svensksmith
post 25.Mar.2013, 10:47 PM
Post #9
Joined: 28.Jul.2011

Monark, go with your gut and don't listen to the weiners that scream racism at every juncture. Your radar told you something wasn't right and most likely you were correct.
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skogsbo
post 26.Mar.2013, 07:48 AM
Post #10
Joined: 20.Sep.2011

I agree, human instinct, sixth sense, gut feeling... it's what kept us alive when we were just man the hunter in caves!

You have to look at the logically, something was amiss, out of line.

Why didn't he ask you when you were tanking up, just stood there?
Why didn't he simply go in the petrol station etc..?

He was almost certainly up to no good.
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Coolrunnings
post 26.Mar.2013, 08:18 AM
Post #11
Joined: 15.Jun.2012

Always be alert during the summertime. Lots of EU scammers come to Sweden looking for rich pluckings on the swedish roads.

It can range from some obvious scams such as offering fake gold in exchange for gas. Often these people are from Ireland or eastern europe. Or questions about directions from some west european while your wallet is taken.

The most dangerous one is where Lithuanian roadpirates hijack your car on the highway and rob you. In the worse case they murder you.
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polartwist
post 26.Mar.2013, 10:36 AM
Post #12
Joined: 5.Feb.2013

QUOTE (skogsbo @ 26.Mar.2013, 07:48 AM) *
Why didn't he ask you when you were tanking up, just stood there?. Why didn't he simply go in the petrol station etc..?

That makes sense. In Germany once (with beard that needed a shave and my car with italian plate) I needed some info and I went directly inside the petrol station and ask...

Wow guys, I didn't really know about all those scams ohmy.gif Thanks for the useful info.
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007
post 26.Mar.2013, 01:23 PM
Post #13
Location: Stockholm
Joined: 2.Apr.2006

monark, thanks for the heads up. by knowing what scams are out there it is easier to listen to instinct rather than override it. my guess is that something was up. it will be interesting to hear if anyone knows the specific scam

while backpacking through europe i was warned about a few scams. when i was the target of an attempt (that didn't match the exact MO i was warned about,) i was able to react faster (when the coin finally dropped) and prevent them from picking my wallet out of my zippered pocket (which had been unzippered during the diversion).

what we call instinct in these cases is actually our ability to interpret and analyze non-verbal signals and circumstances
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John.Smith
post 8.Apr.2013, 01:04 PM
Post #14
Location: Sweden
Joined: 12.Sep.2011

Yeah, a distraction ploy. Either they were trying to steal the car, or maybe anything of value in the car e.g. phone, wallet etc...

Another trick is that they wait for you to come back to your car and open it and then tell you that you left your credit card in the shop. Most people will just run back into the shop and leave the car open and ripe for looting!
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