Polly Hudson column: I fell for a new scam which has just come to Britain… don’t let it happen to you

At the risk of sounding like some awful chain email, please read this if you’re a girl.

And while you’re doing so, maybe ask yourself what you would have done…

Two nights ago I was in my car, near home.

I pulled up to some lights and a middle-aged bloke who was walking past glanced at my car and started waving at me frantically, motioning that something was wrong.

He tried to mouth it, but seeing as I know as much about internal combustion engineering as the average Sex and the City fan, I didn’t understand.

The traffic light was still red, so he walked round to my window.

“I’m a mechanic,” he told me, “I think your oil pipe’s burst, there’s oil leaking out ­everywhere.

“If you drive any further your engine will overheat, your head gasket will blow and you’ll have to buy a whole new one.”

I got out and, to my horror, saw he was right – there was oil all over the front of the car, dripping off the bonnet and rushing out from underneath too.

The man said he was in a mad rush, his boss was waiting for him down the road to do a job, but he’d fix it for me quickly seeing as I was a woman on my own.

He ran round the corner to the garage he worked in, got a new pipe and replaced the broken one, which, he showed me, had snapped nearly in half.

He said I was really lucky he’d seen me when he did, my engine could have easily been ruined and that even what he’d just done would cost £120 in a garage.

He asked for 70 quid, which seemed reasonable bearing in mind how kind he’d been and the money he’d saved me, so I withdrew it from a nearby cashpoint and gave it to him.

If you haven’t guessed by now, it was a scam. I’ve never felt like such a bimbo in my life. But, in my defence, the oily ruse was pretty slick.

My “knight in shining armour” (I literally called him that at one point) squirted it on the front of the car as he walked past it to my window, and the broken pipe was probably in his pocket the whole time.

It seems obvious now, but it all happened so quickly and, if someone tells me my car’s broken, and I can see obvious supporting evidence all over it, I believe them.

Worst of all, according to Google it’s a famous old con from America, which is starting to happen over here – the first reported incident on the web is April this year.

My local police said – once they’d stopped laughing at me – that it’s happened a few times recently in my area, and that the con men prey on women driving on their own.

The very reason the bloke said he was helping me.

GRRRRR. Literally a pox on his house – and I ain’t talking chicken.

So, ladies, look out.

Learn from my ridiculous, helpless girl overtrustingness. Please.

And just think yourselves lucky you can learn this lesson for free, rather than paying 70 quid for it, like I did


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