I was about to leave the gas station when two guys in a white Dodge Charger rental car asked me if i spoke Italian or Spanish. I told him no and I offered them help thinking they're tourist looking for directions. Then the guy approached me and told me that he was Armani rep from Italy in town doing business at South Coast Plaza. He presented himself very well and believably explained to me in a italian muddled english his situation. He explained to me that the previous night he was in Hollywood and lost all his money drinking and gambling. He then showed me a legitimate looking (probably a fake one though) Italian passport, a boarding pass, and rental car invoice. He then told me that he had NO money to pay for the rental car and that he had to catch a flight back to Italy at midnight. This guy was so believable and came off so sincere, that I actually ended up buying his story.
He offered me 3 jackets as a gift and told me that once he got back to Italy he would wire me the money. It was sketchy, but I was dumb enough to trust him. I've always been a nice person when it comes to helping others and I figured I should help him out since out felt so bad for him. I did however ask him why he didn't contact his family, company, and the embassy. For the family he told me that time difference made it difficult for him to reach his family, which after i thought about it later shouldn't have mattered in the situation he was in. For the company he told me that he was new in the company and that if he contacted his boss then he would have been fired, and interms of embassy he said they couldn't help.
Oviously I got taken advantage of and got fooled. I've never been in this kind of situation, understanding him was very difficult, I never would have imagined this kind of thing happening in a town like Irvine, but it did and after this incident happened and I did some investigation on this site it seems it's happened in multiple Southern California locations: Long Beach, Lake Forrest, Costa Mesa, Redwood, Holly Wood. The rental car fee was $176, but I ended up giving this man $200, the money lost is lost, but I'm more upset and hurt by the fact that how someone could do this to another person. I know in this world there are alot of sketchy people, but this was by far the worst human interaction experience I've had. I'm a optimist so I'm not going to rent, but I do want others to be informed of this case so this does not happen to anybody else.
This scam artist will probably read this report and I hope he does and realize what kind of person he is. For others this individual physically is about 5'10 - 5'11 on a chubby side and his partner in was more leaner and wore glasses and remained silent the whole time because he soposedly didn't know any English at all. The scam artist name is Alfonso Merolla his fake passport indicated that he was born on Aprill 28th 1985 and the passport number was AA1309321. He will most likely approach his next potential victim differently so be on a look out for his feature. (chubby cheeks and pointy noise) He looked some what latino with dark tonned skin. If anyone of this character approaches you just call the police.