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Scam artist?

Original post made by Pleasanton Shopper on Apr 5, 2010

A friendly lady approached me while I was leaving the Safeway parking lot this afternoon and asked me for money for her and her three daughters until a bed opened up at Shepherd's Gate tomorrow. She said her three little girls were at the Chevron station on the corner while she found food for them. Something didn't seem right, and I chose not to give her any money for food. As I drove away, my teenager told me she had seen the same lady at Safeway with the same story a few days ago, and also at the Sports Chalet parking lot a few weeks ago. I guess the lady is a scam artist. Has anyone else seen her before in Pleasanton?

Comments (33)

Posted by Cholo, a resident of Livermore
on Apr 5, 2010 at 9:02 pm

Please describe the person.


Posted by M, a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Apr 6, 2010 at 8:19 am

It's called a beggar not a scammer ... unless you consider all beggars scammers in which case you would be right ... although to be honest every time I walk into Safeway there is some begging me for money ... I started shopping at Raley's directly because of the harassment.


Posted by Sue, a resident of Vintage Hills Elementary School
on Apr 6, 2010 at 8:33 am

I got hit up by the same lady in the Safeway parking lot last week as well. When she asked me for money, I told I was a struggling single mom too.................she just walked away.


Posted by john, a resident of another community
on Apr 6, 2010 at 8:34 am

more disturbing to me are the day laborors hanging out at the entrance to Home Depot. I've already been thru this in another
city. It's not the good thing you may think it is.


Posted by linz, a resident of Valley View Elementary School
on Apr 6, 2010 at 8:57 am

that's just about as bad as the people who sit outside Walmart in Pton and Livermore and outside Safeways, Best Buy and Targets asking for money for homeless women and children...oh in Livermore it's the same people asking for money for abused women and children, I've seen the same people rotate stores. It's pretty funny.


Posted by Ginny, a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Apr 6, 2010 at 9:21 am

Actually, I don't mind the folks who sit at or stand by the little tables outside Safeway. My understanding is that these are almost always legitimate charities, usually run by religious groups, to provide shelter and rehabilitation/counseling to those in need. Often this is a "job" or an assigned task in a series of rehabilitation steps for the person collecting the money, and they are not allowed to handle the money directly, but ask you to put it in the slot on the locked box. As part of their rehabilitation, they are usually happy to talk with you about their experience with the organization and how it has helped set them on the path to get their lives in order. I'm happy to give a dollar or five to these boxes when I can, and if I have a minute or two (even on a busy week/work day), I'll stop and listen for a bit. It's a good thing to do; puts life in perspective.

I don't give to individuals who beg for money in the parking lots outside of these, though. Seems a bit fishy, I agree. And I'm also always perplexed by the tables outside of Target *right next to* the sign that says that Target doesn't allow solicitations!! What's up with that??


Posted by Safeway Shopper, a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Apr 6, 2010 at 9:37 am

I was approached by the same lady twice at Safeway on Dublin Blvd in Dublin. She's African American and a bit chubby, wearing blue coat/jacket.

It looks like she gets money from lots of people that's why she keeps doing it. I saw her there around 4-5pm almost every week.


Posted by Polly, a resident of Bridle Creek
on Apr 6, 2010 at 9:45 am

Yes, Safeway on Good Friday. Talk about a gilt trip...


Posted by D W, a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Apr 6, 2010 at 10:08 am

Block it out and always suspiciously be aware of your surroundings.


Posted by df, a resident of Stoneridge Park
on Apr 6, 2010 at 10:14 am


Talking about real scammers, there are a couple of nice looking lads going door-to-door selling "xtreme-kleen."

Very engaging, will clean some grit of your driveway or auto wheels, but they are basically selling a $70/gallon "cleaning chemical" that needs to be diluted 10-1 or 5-1.

The company's website is www.xccinc.com

But if you Google (or Bing) them, it seems they return to sell a diluted product that work best at 2-1. i.e. $70 for the equivalent of a bottle of Windex.

I didn't see any vendor badges and maybe they were just working their way through town....

Caveat Emptor!



Posted by jaded but not scammed, a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Apr 6, 2010 at 11:06 am

The simple solution to door-to-door solicitations, panhandling, etc. is to ask for a photo ID and explain that you are now going to call the police dept to verify their "permit" to do business in this town. Of course, they immediately leave and you do not need to call about something that probably does not exist. Never had a legitimate person yet. As for the religious folk trying to convert me . . . . I explain that one of my 12 spouses is my brother and at least some of my kids are probably also my grandkids and they pretty much decide that I am beyond saving . . . .


Posted by nkm, a resident of Livermore
on Apr 6, 2010 at 12:12 pm

i saw the same black lady approach an older man as i drove through the safeway parking lot on santa rita. at first i thought they were together because she was smiling at him to get his attention, but then when it was apparent he didn't know her, i slowed down and heard her ask for money. i was parking just down the way and saw him pull out some money and give it to her. i got out of my car and looked at her, she saw me and immediately began walking fast toward santa rita. when i came out of walgreens i drove around the lot but she was gone. she is a crook...be cautious...it's hard not to be taken in when we are all so much more compassionate in these hard times. if someone walks up to you in a parking lot and give you a sad story...it's probably not real!


Posted by new in town, a resident of Downtown
on Apr 6, 2010 at 12:26 pm

I moved here a few months ago from Fremont where the same woman would troll the Target/Safeway lots for YEARS. I saw her here in Pleasanton on Good Friday, too.


Posted by another mom, a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Apr 6, 2010 at 12:33 pm

I look at it this way - if the poor woman has to lower herself to beg people for money in a parking lot - then she has found a way to feed herself and family (if indeed there is one).
I felt bad enough to give her $20. in the Walmart parking lot - she was lucky enough it was a day when I had cash on me.
Can you imagine having to beg in parking lots? I just hope the pittance I offered helped her that day.....


Posted by Livermore Resident, a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Apr 6, 2010 at 12:50 pm

Whatever you do don't give the older lady that sits in front of Safeway on First Street in Livermore money. She has a sign that says homeless family, yet I used to see her driving a car and coming from a nice neighborhood off of vasco and shopping at PW when it was open. I work hard for my money and for people like her who probably collects disability and then makes cash that she doesn't have to claim gets to me. If she was really homeless she wouldn't have a car and nice place to call home. She makes more money then most of us and it's tax free. And as far as church groups in front of Walmart yeah right. I was at Walmart on Saturday and this guy had a locked charity box and when I walked by him on the side of walmart he was on the phone talking about doing drugs the night before. So i'm pretty sure I know where his money went.


Posted by A. Morgan, a resident of Kottinger Ranch
on Apr 6, 2010 at 12:53 pm

Just like cutting off the life-lines of free medical, dental, education & when they are bad little illegal boys & girls, free incarceration (with the same medical, dental plus free meals, legal help & gym membership now) all paid for by you & me, Mr. & Mrs. Californian taxpayer. Once you stop giving the begging, scamming & YES...drug dependent parking lot cretins money they will too go away.

Our state is BROKE people, we cannot afford to be "sensitive & caring" anymore. This is business & we are not in the business of charity. Yes this is an incredibly heartless statement but "charity" by it's very own definition must voluntarily come from the individual, not the state. If you are a church, civic organization or private individual you may do with your money as you please, otherwise hands off my wallet! I will give my charitable contributions to the most worthy & needy as I see fit, not you.


Posted by Qwerty, a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Apr 6, 2010 at 1:48 pm


I donate to charitable causes that I know have very low overhead such that most of the incoming funds go out to help the needy. I never give cash to anyone on the street anymore. My experience has been that many people on the street use the money for cigarettes, booze or worse.At least that is what I begin to believe when they turn down an offer to buy them a meal at a nearby store.


Posted by JR, a resident of Danbury Park
on Apr 6, 2010 at 2:12 pm

Unless it is going toward a local organization, I give nothing outside a business or at my front door. It is not wise to give to an individual asking for money because you have no way on knowing if it is legitimate. Girl Scouts, school sports, clothing giveaways AND Valley Humane Society are all what I choose to support. In my very porr days working my way off


Posted by JR, a resident of Danbury Park
on Apr 6, 2010 at 2:14 pm

Unless it is going toward a local organization, I give nothing outside a business or at my front door. It is not wise to give to an individual asking for money because you have no way on knowing if it is legitimate. Girl Scouts, school sports, clothing giveaways AND Valley Humane Society are all what I choose to support. In my very poor days working my way off welfare I never asked anyone for money. Think twice before you do.


Posted by teresa, a resident of Downtown
on Apr 6, 2010 at 2:41 pm

I was approached by a similar woman, if not the same one, 4 weeks ago in Dublin talking about her 3 children and Shepherd's Gate. It's difficult to know whether they are scammers or not. I actually got kind of scared because she came very suddenly toward my car, and I started to roll the window up, at which point she turned and walked away. I would have listend some more with the window mostly rolled up... I think it is better to help someone locally than to give it to big organizations since they take a big cut... however, the problem is, there are always scammers out there. If she has 3 children, I am sure Sheperd's Gate would consider her a priority. Unless she has problems subordinating herself and her children to the living rules at Shepherd's gate. Some street people are so messed up, they cannot get along with other people. It's difficult to know what to do. Maybe it's better to give to people whose situation we understand.


Posted by Troy Kempton, a resident of Livermore
on Apr 6, 2010 at 3:56 pm

As our small towns of 30K to 40K people grow into cities of 4 to 6 times that so do the big city challenges. The other of the world's oldest professions panhandling is one of them. Yes, there are many ways to give! Some gifts are more accountable to a cause or in its utilization than others. And yes, some of these panhandlers get quite "creative" and do quite well. And yes, feeding the bears just perpetuates the challenge, (respectfully tong and cheek). But if anyone is asked to give, especially outside organized charities, on a case by case basis give or don't give but don't expect the truth about what it's for or think some self serving notion that you are in some way changing their lives... Give because that's who you are (even it be just at that moment). If you are going to give, give with Grace! Then let it go.


Posted by Jeff Wilson, a resident of Dublin
on Apr 6, 2010 at 4:39 pm

Encountered the same lady one evening around dinner time in the Target parking lot off Amador Plaza in Dublin. What a racket.


Posted by Anne, a resident of Livermore
on Apr 6, 2010 at 8:27 pm

I do NOT think the people with the little tables in front of the TriValley area businesses are legitimate. I think they are also a scam. I work with a local charity, and the director knows all the charitable groups in the area, and the above groups are not affiliated with any of them. If you ask, they say they are from Oakland, or another city, one even said Anaheim, but they say are collecting money to build in this area. The tax ID's that they use are not really valid ones, they are ones you buy online for $10. Sometimes they claim to help local charities, but this is false. I think they should be investigated by the police. I think they are all part of one big operation, as the tables, the lockboxes and the the signs they use are all alike, except for the name of the "charity" they are collecting for. Places like TriValley Haven, Shepards Gate, etc, have never heard of the groups they claim to represent, and do not receive any funds from them. One claimed to give money to homeless people whom the police referred to them, but this is not true either. The police refer to the above mentioned legitmate shelters. Please do not give to these people. Do not think I am against charity, as I work for two local charities, but these people are draining money OUT of the TriValley area, and should not be supported, rather investigated.


Posted by Linz, a resident of Valley View Elementary School
on Apr 6, 2010 at 9:09 pm

Thank you Anne! I looked up one of their charities and it was some church in Delaware. I watched as the guy in front of Target Livermore pulled out a huge wad of cash one day and told somebody he was talking to on the phone he had plenty, not sure if he was talking about the money or what not, these guys are setting up shop in our area because they are making a killing! Please people stop giving to them, they are not legit.


Posted by Lee Harvey, a resident of Del Prado
on Apr 6, 2010 at 9:27 pm

I tell everone who asks me for money that I already give to charity when I pay my taxes and I help people get off drugs by arresting them.


Posted by Nobody's fool, a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Apr 6, 2010 at 10:12 pm

Another Mom, she doesn't HAVE to beg in parking lots. IT's not a new thing for her. She can add that to her public welfare money... beats studying , then answering to a boss, reporting on time,etc. Besides if you have a drug problem it's the fastest, most direct way to feed the habit. The gullible, bleeding hearts amaze me.....better your money, than mine.


Posted by sknywench, a resident of Alisal Elementary School
on Apr 7, 2010 at 11:00 am

Despite people's good intentions, giving money to people in a parking lot or on the street is the worst thing you can do. Most often, the people have drug or alcohol abuse problems and they spend the bulk of it on the drugs and not food for themselves or kids. I speak from experience with a brother who is an addict. The most compassionate thing you can do is call a social services agency and let them do the outreach.


Posted by Tell Them: "I Fight Poverty", a resident of Danbury Park
on Apr 7, 2010 at 2:04 pm

"I work!"

Saw the heavy black lady in Safeway parking lot-
She smiles, looks friendly, asks a favor, then starts to give this unlikely story about kids, just this time, etc.

Also there was a guy in front of Safeway's door who claimed to be from a Drug Rehab of some sort in Vallejo.
Why not ask those people - we have our own.

I understand Safeway has removed the concrete tables (well away from the doors) where I used to sit to wait with the puppies while my wife shops, was told the mgr didn't like his employees smoking out there. Wish they'd just put up a No Smoking sign, I need a place to sit- should we shop eleswhere?


Posted by Mom, a resident of Southeast Pleasanton
on Apr 8, 2010 at 11:57 am

Try giving these parking lot beggars some food and see how "in need" they truly are! I've done this in the past (stopped by a fast-food restaurant and picked up some sandwiches), and when they were offered, the person begging actually got MAD that they were offered food rather than money. I've done it several times and gotten the same result. They're criminals.


Posted by Retired Ala. Co. Social Services, a resident of Country Fair
on Apr 8, 2010 at 2:52 pm

In Calif., we have welfare programs for Families with children under 19 years. Some of these are: Emergency Cash Assistance (if you have no place to stay and no income, the County will put you and your children up in the Hilton if they have to while you wait for the mandated 24 hr. turn around time to process your application; there is the Homeless Program that will pay your rent and security deposit once you show a rental agreement (doesn't have to be official); there is Aid To Families With Dependent Children (cash assistance) and may have a new title now; there is The Emergency Food Stamp Program and you are elegible for free food while waiting for your 24 hr. turn around application process. These are a few of what the County and Government offers. There is no legitimate reason for for a Mother to beg for money on the street, parking lots etc.. Keep your money in your pocket, because this is a scam.


Posted by not an extremist, a resident of Mohr Park
on Apr 11, 2010 at 9:42 pm

I've seen the same heavy set black lady in the parking lot of Safeway off of Tassahara in Dublin. And, she doesn't work alone. Her "partner" in crime is a large black male who "spots" for her. When he saw me watching her and then him, he began giving her hand signals to disappear. It was quite intimidating to see the two working the parking lot together.

I let the staff at the store know. The person I told seemed to know exactly who they were and suggested anything suspicious should be reported to the store manager.

The public needs to stop giving money in parking lots and be more aware of their surroundings. It's just not a safe thing to do.

The "scamming", (and not just begging...because they are lying)couple must be doing pretty well with collecting cash or they wouldn't keep doing it. Just look at how many people in this posting have seen her. Wow.


Posted by volunteer, a resident of Ruby Hill
on Apr 12, 2010 at 8:39 am

I volunteer with a couple of our local non-profits so it bothers me to see the phony ones in front of our local businesses taking our local donation dollars.
I have asked the managers of our local stores to enforce their company policies and not allow the begging. Only non-profits that have registered with their corporate office are allowed but the managers don't want to be bothered monitoring the problem. They send a young bagger out to tell the guy sitting on the milk crate to leave but do not give instruction for ongoing monitoring.
If everyone took the time to ask the managers to enforce the problem it would get better.


Posted by Annoyed, a resident of Laguna Vista
on Apr 13, 2010 at 3:38 pm

I have always been annoyed when I walk into the Dublin Target and there is someone asking for donations..sitting next to a sign that says that target doesn't allow soliciation. I asked customer service about that. Apparently, the people asking for money say that they have a right to be there and it is against the law to make them leave. They even brought it to court and Target can't make them leave until the court case is settled. So they put the sign out.

The girl told me that they have seen them take money or not put money in the box. I also walked in and the guy was talking in an accent and when I walked out..it was gone!

I donate money and goods to shelters directly. I don't mind helping..only when I KNOW where the money is going!


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