piacere

Soho - Was this a scam?

17 posts in this topic

I've had some good experiences in Soho in the past but things got weird a few days ago.

 

Strolling around on my way home, I was approached by a middle aged brunette lady asking if I was looking for girls to which I said yea, maybe. She told me £50 for half an hour with her or one of many others girls. I said I only wanted to spend 40 and she said ok, as a first timer with them she'd be able to do that. After noticing my accent was a native London one she started questioning whether I was a police officer. (FWIW I did used to be Old Bill so probably have the typical voice but didn't tell her this).

 

She then told me as a first timer I need to be searched for any weapons or drugs for the girls' safety. "Ummmm ok" I thought, and in the middle of the street she started patting me down and checking pockets. Once that was done I was told that one of the perks is I'd get a membership card and in future would not have to go through security and go straight to their address! I felt a little thrown off by what had just happened with the search but handed over the £40 due to being a bit tipsy. Another middle aged blonde lady soon turned up with her.

 

I was then told a story by the blonde lady about how a 17 year old girl was stabbed in the heart by a punter and that as it is just women running this agency, no pimps or anything that they take safety very very seriously. Fair enough, I thought but then shortly after the alarm bells started ringing. I was told that as a precaution that they ask all their clients for proof that they have money in their bank account so that they can be compensated should I decide to smash a TV over the girl's head or some such. I was taken to an ATM opposite the apparent hotel, given a pack of condoms and pointed to the hotel room and then politely asked to try to get £680 out from the machine. Apparently the machine would then print out a decline slip which I would show to them as proof I can pay should something terrible happen. On my very limited experiences in Soho I'd never been asked to do this before. I said why cant I just show them my balance through my phone instead but for some reason they were having none of it. They were very keen to get me to use the cash point, almost dragging me at some points. They said don't worry, there isn't a loop attached and I could use any ATM I wanted and they'd stand on the other side of the road. I flat out refused while they continued to desperately try and convince me to do it for what felt like 20 minutes. Eventually they gave up and I asked for a refund. They told me to get my £40 back I'd have to come back in an hour for some reason about the room has already been booked or something.  I didn't hang around, cut my losses and went home.

 

Was I being overly cautious? Is this normal? They did seem genuine. I don't see how they could have scammed me with just a 'declined' ATM receipt but I had that feeling you get when something just doesn't feel right? The way I was given a pack of condoms directly opposite the ATM felt like I was being deliberately distracted from thinking too much about the ATM. I hadn't been in any building yet or seen any girls.

 

Anyway, just a heads up to anyone who might experience the same. Probably not the cleverest or safest way of hooking up in hindsight.

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My guess is, some will be persuaded to part with more money if the process continued. Many will cut their losses and go home, as you did, once the demands became more severe. It's the usual clip-join pattern, sounds like. Thanks for the heads-up.

 

 

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Posted (edited)

I am very surprised anyone, especially with a police background, would have any doubts that this was a scam of some sort.

Soho is, or was, known for its walk ups - the quickest most straightforward way to get sex most people know of.

The idea that this rigmarole, especially involving anything to do with a big sum and cash machine  is kosher is surely nonsense - it reeks of scam scam scam.

The heads up is still useful as some would think with their dicks.

 

Edited by vivluvsme
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I have zero experience of soho, but yes this has scam written all over it. I often find that persons who have never been victim of a crime, or been scammed will believe smooth talk. It's how bank transfer scams work. 

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Sorry for being cynical on this one but ex copper getting taken to the ATM to check his balance.. No way. 

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40 minutes ago, Pia said:

Sorry for being cynical on this one but ex copper getting taken to the ATM to check his balance.. No way. 

You should never apologied for being cynic. Piacere means "to be liked" in Italian. My guess is that the OP is trying to be liked by people elsewhere. His fictional story is just that... Bullshit of the highest order, not quality though.. Is a fantasists story, in other words his story is a lie from start to finish.. Just another 1 post fantasist!

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Posted (edited)

3 hours ago, Sylver said:

You should never apologied for being cynic. Piacere means "to be liked" in Italian. My guess is that the OP is trying to be liked by people elsewhere. His fictional story is just that... Bullshit of the highest order, not quality though.. Is a fantasists story, in other words his story is a lie from start to finish.. Just another 1 post fantasist!

Haha, not quite. I felt like a right idiot afterwards particularly considering my background. Everything in my post happened and I hope it doesn't to anybody else. I'm just trying to understand what exactly the women were up to and what would have happened had I gone through with their demands.

 

P.S. Piacere more commonly means 'pleasure' or 'to like'. As in the misguided pleasure I was seeking during this silly episode.

Edited by piacere

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a doubtful story - even someone totally green would probably not hand over money unless in the room with the girl. to do it in the street is asking never to see the money again.

certainly any former police office would suss this out as the scam it certainly was

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I am surprised the OP didn't appeal to his erstwhile friends in the Met to sort this one out. It has all the hall marks of a scam with the added frission of some unpleasantness once in the room.

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Posted (edited)

On ‎18‎/‎03‎/‎2016 at 8:36 PM, piacere said:

I felt a little thrown off by what had just happened with the search but handed over the £40 due to being a bit tipsy.

On ‎18‎/‎03‎/‎2016 at 8:36 PM, piacere said:

They told me to get my £40 back I'd have to come back in an hour for some reason about the room has already been booked or something.  I didn't hang around, cut my losses and went home.

are they members of the magic circle to have made the £40 "disappear"

Edited by triple h

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"They did seem genuine. I don't see how they could have scammed me with just a 'declined' ATM receipt but I had that feeling you get when something just doesn't feel right? "

 

"They told me to get my £40 back I'd have to come back in an hour for some reason about the room has already been booked or something."

 

The main scam was the £40 they for for nothing - the rest of it was cooked up and orchestrated as a way out of giving anything in return for the money you paid. when you asked for your money back which I am sure they had there and then - they invented a stalling strategy.

I cant understand why after you were dumb enough to hand over the dough they didnt just go into a bar and vanish with you left outside on some pretext

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Years ago I was in Soho heading to the nearest tube station after a meal at a local restaurant.  A very young, skinny black guy approached us asking us if we wanted drugs.  Me and my ex were both dressed in black office suits and were minding out business walking fast.  We got shocked not because of being offered drugs but because of the openess of the whole process: clearly some people would sell anything for a buck.

My system does not like any kind of toxins and give very strange reactions lasting for months sometimes, I always wondered why have we been targeted by that guy?  Probably he just targeted everyone.... and it was only around 10pm.

 

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Ex copper ? With all that shit going on? You are having a laugh. Good post, made me giggle , but don't believe a feckin word. 

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this is actually a very good description of how a well organised clip would go down... tourists, first timers, drunks and nervous guys all hand over money in the street... various reasons depending on the circumstances... sometimes they think that's the ways its done sometimes they feel pressured... sometimes they think they are about to be let into the premises depending on their location...  sometimes they just think its worth a punt (for want of a better expression) and can easy get their money back of this one girl... but of course the street is full of clippers and blaggers and they will back each other up... for security they usually work in pairs and are very good at what they do... they know the psychology behind it... they know soho and the west end like the back of their hand, even down to where the CCTV cameras can see or not... they know the punters and they know the scene...

they find their target, establish the deal then take an initial payment but will try and take more and more, cash, bank details, car keys the lot... I thought this kind of activity had died with the rest of old soho but maybe there is a bit going on still...

I can't believe a London copper was taken in for a minute though.

when I got done down tisbury court back in 1997 it was all over the place all day long and into the night you could hardly turn a corner without seeing something happening... i learned my lesson and learned the rules on my first ever visit... but I still managed a punt and decided it was the most fun i'd ever had on a saturday afternoon... I found soho the most exciting place in the world... I would see that gang of women that did me right up until around 2005 maybe 2006 when they started to clamp down and clean it all up...

I do wonder what has happened to all the nefarious characters that used to hang around soho? what would a middle age clip artist go and do when their red light district becomes extinct? can't just go and get an office job can they...

mind you those oriental massage places are little more than clip joints... the traditional soho villians were maltese... its funny how one nationaility can get away with what another can't isnt it?

politics and corruption.

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There used to be a "hostess bar" scam in Soho (also known as "near beers"), where a young lady would persuade you to go in to their "Club" for only £5 entrance fee... it may cost you over £500 to leave and heavies would use a variety of intimidation to get you to pay up. Despite all this, they operated completely legally, and councils only got the power to close them down a few years ago.

I'll bet this is an evolution of the same scam.

 

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I saw a documentary about this Soho scam some years ago.  Probably it still works in other parts of the world though.

 

 

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The infamous Soho clip joints were prevalent until only a few years ago - selling watered down booze to customers and their hostesses at exorbitant rates. Got stung once as a naive teen following a row with a GF in the area and encouraged to loiter and buy drinks with the promise of an elusive lesbian stage show which of course never materialised. Legged it without paying a penny. Oh to be young and innocent again ...

Most of the remnants were abolished with the sanitisation of the area for the 2012 Olympics and with it much of the colour lost forever.

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