I filled up my car today, and somewhere between getting out and finishing the cc-at-the-pump transaction the girl who pulled up behind my caught my eye and made a point of saying "hi". Dummy me felt good about myself and made a mental note to be ready if she tries to strike up a conversation; in other words don't blow a chance to meet someone.

Given the title you probably already realize as I finished filling up she appeared right next to me and said her CC was declined and could I help her with a few bucks because she needs to get to JPS (local hospital) where she works. (I think she had scrub pants but really didn't look the part.)

I sent her away with my now-standard "I'm sorry, I can't help." (That works surprisingly well for some reason for all beggars I encounter.) I went in to get milk and soft drinks, and as I came out some other guy was running his card through her gas pump.

Sometimes I run into stuff like this and wonder if this is a known play. I suppose she could have been caught offguard, but I doubt it. She wasn't nearly embarrassed enough when asking, and I'm convinced catching my eye and saying "hi" was not coincidental to her asking me for money.

So my question is, is there a website that talks about known con plays? For my curiosity and also to know what to look out for? I found some generalized stuff on Wikipedia but couldn't get anything useful out of Google. I"d like specific known cons if such a site exists. On the other hand, maybe this is just simply begging and I'm assigning some nefarious pre-planning that just isn't there.

I get most of my beggar requests while I'm at the gas pump or in a grocery store or Wal-Mart parking lot. I'm guessing there's a planned reason for that; perhaps it's harder for marks to deny having money to spare when in those places.

And I hate it when my ego is momentarily puffed up and then deflated. That sucks.

Update: Doug Nordman offered the following three sites:

Yeah, I guess those sites are about as good as I can get. I suppose the local scam/panhandling scripts are passed around verbally and personalized.

I actually did run a card for someone once, but it was an odd situation. The cashier wasn't there and the door was locked in a station that was open store and all for 24/7. And the guy had already put $3 or so gas in and only had cash. I took the cash and ran my card and made sure to the best of my assessment that the transaction was over. A couple of minutes later the cashier appeared and unlocked the door. I think she had gone to the restroom and had a rush of customers appear while she was in there.

As far as being approachable versus gullible, I just assume I a appear gullible.