Yesterday I got scammed for $400 by a young (early 30's), charming Italian man who said he was lost and needed directions to McCarran airport. I was pumping gas when he pulled up along side me in a grey SUV (California plate #6MGT929). He said he was lost and wanted to know how to get to the airport. I gave him directions. He seemed genuinely grateful and engaged in a conversation about himself and wanted to know more about me. It was a pleasant conversation.
He said his name was Pasquale from Milano, Italy. He said he was in town for a convention representing Armani and Versace. After his magic show (?), his boss gave him a bunch of leather jackets in appreciation for his work. He told me he wanted to give me a gift for helping him, handing me a bag with what appeared to be 3 leather jackets. I told him that wasn't necessary, but he insisted and said he didn't want to pay any duty on the items by taking them back to Italy. I relented.
Then he gave me a second bag with 3 leather jackets for my wife. I thanked him and repeated that this was unnecessary, but he insisted. Upon reflection, that's when he "had" me. I felt guily about accepting what appeared to be an extravagant gift. He then show me one more leather jacket claiming it was worth $1,000 and asked if I would give him $500 for it. I told him I only had $100. He pleaded his case and suggested that maybe I could get more from an ATM which was nearby. Reluctantly I agreed, but told him I could only get $300 from an ATM.
He thanked me again for helping him and reaffirmed the airport directions I had given him earlier. He gave me a phone number (0011393337127102) and said if I was ever in Milano, Italy that I should look him up.
To the untrained eye, the leather jackets seemed genuine, including tags of authenticity. Upon closer inspection, however, they're fakes. They're decent looking jackets, but they are NOT leather. My wife always accuses me of being naive, and in this particular case, she's absolutely right. Despite every indicator that this "didn't pass the smell test", I fell for it. Pasquale (or whatever his real name is) was just that good. I'm angry and embarrassed for being so stupid. On the bright side, I donated the 7 jackets to Salvation Army. Someone will appreciate a good looking coat that looks like leather at a price commensurate with what they're really getting.