Monday, August 08, 2005

ATM Deposit Scam?

I was walking through downtown Seattle yesterday. Sunday is normally a busy and crowded day for shops and sights, but the Seafair air show and hydroboat race on Lake Washington had left the sidewalks nearly empty. I was a bit startled when someone called out hey twice to get my attention. I heard the voice to the right behind me and immediately looked around to make sure there wasn't anyone else approaching me from the front or behind on my left: an old instinct left over from my Oakland years.

A couple waved at me and a woman was shouting. The man, in a tropical half sleeve shirt, was looking at me with a sad smile that showed disapointment. It seems the couple needed help making an ATM deposit and could I help them? He was showing me a check deposit slip. She was getting into my face and was insistent that I could show them how to use the ATM. I backed away and told them that I wasn't a Bank of America custoner, said sorry, and quickly walked away. The man had a half smirk on his face while the woman seemed unhappy.

So was this a couple who had never used an ATM to make a deposit. ATMs have been around for the last 25 years. Plus there was the whole business of them looking a little too touristy and helpless. And there was the look he had given me after I had twirled around alert for possible muggers. Was he amused because he thought I was paranoid of strangers? Or did he decide then to look for other another mark?

1 comment:

steve said...

Sounds like a setup to me. Something stinks, as you pointed out, about a person not knowing how to use an ATM.

I could see the the solution to problem developing into:

a. You deposit the check into your account
b. Give them cash from your account.
c. The next business day the check, of course, bounces.