The wobbly wheel scam is back again this 2022. Sadly enough, this time the perpetrators end up not only defrauding their victims, but causing emotional and physical abuse.
This scam is becoming popular in United States, and is been performed by criminals who’re already on the run. So how do these scammers work? How do you know a genuine stranger?
How Do These Scammers Work?
From our investigations, and that of HoustonPress, these criminals pull up alongside another car and try to get the driver’s attention, usually yelling frantically, and pointing at their potential victim’s vehicle. Then they’ll tell their mark that his or her “wheel is wobbling so badly it’s about to fall off” or some variation of this lie.
Then they’ll follow the concerned driver into a parking lot, “helpfully” offer to fix this catastrophic mechanical failure “for free”, out of the goodness of their hearts. However, this is where the scam comes in.
They ask their victim for hundreds of dollars to cover the cost of a non-existent part they’ve installed, and escort them to the nearest ATM.
How To Spot A Wobbly Wheel Scammer
First of all, these scammers approach vulnerable people – elderly people, and young women/mothers.
If you fall within the bracket, you should regard anyone trying to convince you your wheel is about to pop off with suspicion. You should also pay attention to obvious things – Is your car driving along fine?
Because if your wheel was wobbling so much that it’s noticeable to people in other cars, chances are it would be obvious to you. Also, there is very little chance that a Good Samaritan would be able to fix this kind of problem in a few minutes with a part they just happened to be carrying with them.
Meanwhile, if you’re being targeted by these criminals, you should keep driving, or pull over somewhere with a lot of people milling around. Better still, you could park right in front of a police station, or pull into a busy auto shop.
You could also use your cellphone to call the police, or quickly walk inside a busy store and ask for assistance. The one thing you should never do in this scenario is to allow these scammers enter your car or isolate you in a lonely park. These scammers are looking for easy targets, and avoiding being one is relatively simple.
Just like Nigerian Princes approaching you for money, this is an old scam, but it’s been increasingly common lately, especially in Southwest Houston. Currently, Paul Yonko, a repeat con artist is on the run after stealing hundreds of dollars from man in fake car repair in Harris County.
Have you ever fallen prey to a wobbly wheel con artist? Please share your experience and opinion in the comment section below. See similar scam