I was out at a Ralph's and I was about to leave when 2 guys stopped me in their rental car and asked me for directions to LAX. I drew a map for them and they were very appreciative. The driver had short light brown hair and wore thick very glasses, they made his eyes look larger than normal eye-size when you looked straight at him. The passenger, the one doing all the talking had short dark brown hair (shorter than the driver). They both wore these religious bracelets with the Virgin Mary and I'm guessing Jesus and various Saints on their left wrists. I can't remember the driver's name but the one who was talking was named Guissipie and they claimed they were Italian. They said they were leaving and needed to be at LAX by 8pm to go back to Italy and that they had been in town for a week already for a expo at the Staples Convention Center for men's clothing and they sold Armani leather (and they mentioned a week ago they were in New York for a similar Expo). They had 3 Reportage RGA jackets with them and they showed them to me and offered them to me as a gift for being so nice and helping them with the map to LAX (all medium sizes, 2 black, 1 tan). Guissipie said he would rather give the jackets to me because if he took them back to Italy with him he would have to pay an export tax and he'd rather give them to someone else.
But then the catch: Guissipie asked me, as a gift to them since they were giving me the jackets to pay their rental car fee. He showed me the receipt. I scanned the car because right then I thought it was a scam. I can't remember what kind of car was, it wasn't a compact and it wasn't an SUV, something in between, new, sharp, big, fast. Maybe a Nitro??? That doesn't matter. From what I saw from the car, they had no luggage but I thought it could have been in the back. In the front, there was a little cleft on the dashboard that had information about flying and airports or whatever, typical stuff you'd find in a rental car from LAX. The car was completely clean. Then I thought about what I know of Europeans. This guy was very friendly, the way he shook my hand, the way he spoke, the way he stood next to me, here in the States we would consider the way he carries himself to be of a homosexual nature, but I've heard that in Europe that's just how they are. One thing that should have set me off though was that they claimed to be Italian, but when they pulled up they asked if I spoke Spanish. Italians in Italy speak Italian, don't they, NOT Spanish cuz Spaniards speak Spanish, right??? Yeah, that should've told me something there. The man also kept referring to his wife and kids and talking about them and how he wanted to get back to them and mentioned a few anecdotes throughout our encounter about them, but he wore no ring on his ring finger.
Anyway, I weighed all this in my head. The receipt said $372, in my mind, I thought anything Armani like that would sell for a lot more than $372 each and I could make a huge profit if I sold these on ebay, so I got $320 from the nearby bank (which they followed me to) and we made the trade. They thanked me, Guissipie even hugged me and off they went to their "8 o'clock flight at the airport."
When I got back home, I quickly rushed online and googled "Reportage RGA." All I found were sites talking about rip-offs and thats what led me here. I looked at the Certificate of Authenticity, it had some grammar mistakes along with the misspelling of "owner" which they spelled "awner." From seeing all the other reports about this, I can tell that these guys are professionals and very good at both selling and deception, which in a way is the same thing (I used to work in sales for a few years). What gets to me the most is this happens all over the world in a matter of days but has been going on for years.
You hear about scams all the time and people getting ripped off, but I thought to myself, what if I am so programmed by "stories" and so distrustful in my fellow man that this is the real thing and I miss out on a great opportunity to make a HUGE profit AND help 2 lost tourists out? Well, there is a reason why we are "programmed," there is a reason why we distrust people and this is exactly it.
Very well played gentlemen, but just hope that the police catch you before I do?
Sherman Oaks, California