Strange overhearings in a cafe

Ok, I had to have something to tonight, that didn’t require money. So, I went to the cafe in Barnes & Noble and did some sketching and cartooning.

While I am drawing, this young guy comes into the cafe and bellys up to the bar. He starts calling about a zillion people on his cell phone about some party type thing going on tomorrow. The guy was happier in demeanor than Barney the Dinosaur on Exstasy. He was so sickeningly friendly to everyone he called on the phone, that he almost seemed "fake. " Then another guy comes in and sits with him. This young guy starts talking to the older guy about how the older guy should change his cell phone provider and stuff. They discuss rates and plans and then I start hearing they weird stuff…

Young guy mentions to old guy that he needs his soc-sec number to do whatever with the phone provider change… (you kinda had to be there, I’m leaving a lot out) anyways, I immediately sense something of a “red flag.” Something about the whole thing sounded like a con to me.

Older guy leaves after they get everything arranged. About ten minutes later, a group of about 5 more people his age come in and sit with him. Barney the Dinosaur guy drops the “super friendly terminally happy act.” He’s now with his cohorts. They start talking about some really weird stuff…

I heard them talking about the “old guy” and the soc-sec number, and then something about a check that wasn’t cashed, and something about making an “amonymous” bank account, and another being empty, and “getting more.” I also heard things like, “and he fell for it?” and etc. Then they started saying things about covering their tracks and some bogus company name as a front, etc.

It was very bizarre. It was surreal. I KNOW they were pulling some sort of large scale con operation. These were college age people. I’m thinking they were hacking credit cards and bank accounts, by duping clueless people into giving Barney the Dinosaur Guy their private info. Again, you kinda had to be there. I don’t remember everything word for word, but something shady was definitely afoot.

What would you have done, overhearing such a situation?

I would have assumed one of two things.

  1. They saw that I was listening with Big Ears and decided to jerk my chain.

  2. They were rehearsing a play.

Real grifters don’t sit around B & N discussing their latest sting in loud voices. :wink:

  1. No, this all started from the moment Barney sat down. It wasn’t about me.

  2. LOL, no freaking way. I’m telling you, if you had heard the whole thing, you would be as suspicous as I. Don’t tell me it can’t happen. No one thought Sep 11 could ever have happened, prior, but it did. As the cliche goes, “Truth is stranger than fiction”

Sounds like a scam, where they get the “older guy” to draw money out of his account. You should have reported it and probably still could.

It seems that Barney-guy might have conned the older guy into texting soc-sec or credit card numbers to Barney’s own phone, the older guy assuming naively that he was updating cell provider info.

I can see that scam working pretty well. You should definitely report it instanter.

BTW, what use is a social security number anyway? I’m not American, so I don’t have one and can’t readily think how such a number can be used for fraud.

Because it’s used as a default identification number for everything. It’s your taxpayer ID number. Credit card companies will ask for it as an ID number for you when you establish an account. Your phone company will ask for it when you call to set up service. It’s probably your driver’s license number and was very likely your student ID number in college.

The “Social Security” part of the phrase still applies, but it really should be called the “American identification number” or something similar.

I would have turned around and said, “Don’t give him your social, man! Don’t give anyone your social!”

What stopped you from intervening? Just curious: you were there and I wasn’t.

It’s roughly equivalent to our NI (national insurance) number, I think - except it is used more for ID.

With someone’s SSN and their address, I could assume that persons identity. It happens all the time. More and more all the time, if you belive the local news.

I could get a drivers license with their name and my picture on it. I could credit cards in their name, and really mess a lot of people up with ‘store’ credit.

Once I was in the now-defunct Kelbo’s restaurant. This is one of those South Pacific style places where the waitstaff wear aloha shirts and the drinks wear umbrellas. Palm fronds, fishing nets, laquered blowfish. You know the type of place. Tack-O-Rama. But sometimes you just have to be tacky.

Anyway, we’re sitting there when we overhear a band talking about their video. “We have a couple of nuns roasting a midget over an open fire.”

It has nothing to do with the OP, but it is a strange thing overheard in a restaurant.

The two guys seemed to know one another, and their meeting was prearranged. I don’t know what their relationship was, if any, nor anything about them. I never even heard any names.

All I do know is the more I overheard, the stranger and more suspicious it sounded. It was surreal.

Sounds like a scam to me, though I’ve never been witness to anything of that nature, I believe that I would have suspected “foul play.” I too beleive I would report it to an authority. BTW I’m new here. Still kinda lookin around, please excuse the mild drive-by.

I might have casually followed one or more out to their cars (assuming that’s how they arrived) & copied down rather discretely their vehicle license plate numbers & other descriptions of cars, them, etc. Then I might send this info. to the cops anonymously if I don’t feel like getting involved, or in person if I have nothing better to do.

Hmm…Well, if it was like that, the older guy must have already made his decision, or been halfway to deciding, to comply with Mr. Sunshine. So that would have been beyond intervention.

I hate to hear these stories about the elderly getting scammed. Someone posted a link, either before the crash or on the temp board, to a site that goes into detail about various scams and the way they’re carried out. The saddest element is the scammers pretending to be friends and ending up getting nasty when the victims balk at getting more money.