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Beware of Con Artists in Downtown San Francisco

I had the urge to get some chicken katsu last night for dinner, and I wandered over to Kearny and Bush to visit L&L Hawaiian Barbecue. On my way home, I spotted a familiar activity in downtown San Francisco. A young lady soliciting another young lady for money based on a lie about being “stranded in San Francisco, and need money to get back home.”

Hopefully, most folks are already aware of these scams and know to keep walking and to not give folks a penny. However, since I was approached by the same girl just this past weekend as I was walking towards 5th Street on Mission and saw her a second time on Sutter last night where she was successfully getting money from a well-meaning passerby, I wanted to post something on my blog.

The story often goes something like “I’m from (SOME CITY FAR AWAY FROM SAN FRANCISCO), and I can’t find my (KEYS, WALLET, CAR TOWED, or the Perennial “I’m out of Gasoline”). I feel (TERRIBLE/EMBARASSED) to ask, but could you spare ($20/$10/$5/some change) to help me get a (bus/BART ticket, gasoline, taxi, etc.)?”

The young lady I’ve now seen twice tosses in that “I’m a student from Sacramento State” or some school that may or may not even exist.

I wish I had my camera last night … I would’ve taken her photo and posted it here. Oh well … next time … IN the meanwhile, be wary about these stories – 1 in 100 might be legitimate, but most are con artists just trying to take your hard earned money. I suspect we’ll have even more of these con artists wandering around downtown San Francisco as the holidays approach.

Downtown San Francisco, especially east of 5th Street, is a wonderful and relatively safe area for being a big city with lotsa visitors, but please be smart this holiday season and keep your wallets in your pockets while out on the streets.

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