A couple of years ago, a man came to my front gate with a little notebook and informed me that the driver of the garbage truck that services the estate had been killed in a traffic accident earlier that morning - I don't keep track of the time the truck makes its rounds and I was momentarily stumped and started sympathising with the man when he told me he was going around the estate to collect money for the man's widow and 3 young children. What would you do? The lady with the big 'S' (sucker) on her forehead runs indoors and fetches her wallet and a sum of money and hands it over to the man who is supposedly collecting for the man's widow. Shortly after that I read in the Straits Times of this same man (based on the description given in the report) who was actually a confidence trickster had struck many other private estates. Dang!!! I felt violated and most of all stupid and my husband kept reminding me not to fall for this sort of scam again especially after we called the waste disposal company and they told us no such thing had happenned. hmmm.....This afternoon I heard the front doorbell, looked out of the upstairs window and saw a man who looked vaguely familiar, speaking to my maid. I decided to come downstairs and check out the commotion as the dogs were causing a racket.

He greeted me and pulled out some fullscap sheets from a bag he was carrying and over the cacophony of Buddy's barking he said something that sounded like "I've just been released from prison, you don't mind please come to the gate". Errrr.....just released from prison, and then???......anyhow, I said, "somebody has died and you want me to donate" and he replied "no Madam, you tell me how am I going to pay for my hospital bill"...huh??? prison, hospital. Immediately I could feel the "S" starting to light up on my forehead so I replied "there's a yellow ribbon programme on now, please check out with the prison" and this chappie pulls out a packet from the bag (same packet I received when I dropped some money into a can at a shopping mall last week - but that was a legitimate fund raising exercise) and says he's been there/done that and nobody can help him. Then he proceeds to proclaim he's the same religion as me - I have a crucifix at my front door - blah, blah, blah, blah..... and he's getting irritated with Buddy for jumping up and down and barking and then he pulls one leg of his pants up but all I see are nice clean sports shoes and socks and he's trying to tell me something about his leg needing an op or could be he was saying "please ask your dog to bite me so I can claim compensation" I really can't say because of the din from my dog and the neighbour's dogs. I know he's a conman, preying on other people's generosity, probably too idle or proud to do certain jobs because we all know that in Singapore if you're desperate, there's a multitude of jobs that can earn you some money. The battery that's flashing the "S" on my forehead starts to weaken and I can think straight - what should I do?........... The right thing to do would be to call the police so that he can be stopped in his tracks and not con some other unsuspecting person. I remember the little notebook that he showed me the first time around had names next to amounts ranging from $10 upwards.......BUT my conscience kept pricking me too. "What if he really is desperate and has 3 hungry children and a wife at home?" I did not call the police and Iwill keep to myself what I actually did but isn't it a difficult situation to be in. I am not callous or without feeling so it was a rather traumatic episode for me. btw for general consumption - he is a tall able bodied dark complexioned man with a moustache, well groomed, well dressed and well spoken probably in his late 40's. From the way he spoke I would say he is definitely not a foreigner. If you are faced with the same situation or receive a visit from someone fitting this description, be wary you should know then that he is a story spinner

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