Have you ever been scammed? You must have. No? Ever thought you’d made a really good deal only to find out it’s quite the opposite? Or worse still, have a vague inkling that something isn’t right, that you may be part of a con, but in the face of smiling, cajoling strangers you find yourself going along with it anyway?
This is one of the themes of our show Fall Girl (currently showing at the Gilded Balloon at 1.45). We arrived into Edinburgh a few days ago and in the lead up to the show have been asking people round the city to share with us times when they have been scammed. Lots of people have been scammed. Some people haven’t but I am convinced THEY ARE HIDING SOMETHING.
I would like to tell you I am an utterly original writer and the idea of falling for a con is complete fiction because I am a terribly savvy, street-wise kind of lady, but this would be a fib of epic proportions. But they do say write what you know, and sadly, this I know.
I’ve been ‘had’ often, and I come from a large family and together we are one big gullible target. My sister, who emailed all her bank details when ‘her bank’ emailed her it would be shut down if she didn’t, my mum who ended paying a fortune to have her drive tarmacked by a stranger who was ‘just passing’. Or my cousin who lost his phone and was overjoyed when someone answered it.
“Thank god!” he said, “I thought it had been stolen! Can I meet you to get it?”
“Well,” said the man on the other end, “I’m going away but if you ring me in 2 weeks, I’ll give it to you then.”
In 2 weeks my cousin rang but couldn’t get through. I’ll leave it a few days he thought. A friend told him this was a bad idea so he rang his phone company. He had been hit with a £8,000 phone bill and the phone company refused to cover any of it because who could be that gullible?
I would like to share more about my family’s tragic propensity for getting scammed but I can’t for legal reasons.
And me? Well some of it has seeped into the show. When I was 18 I got ‘scouted’. Yes! I thought! I may be only 5’5 and a little chubby but perhaps I am ‘that face!’ They took my photo and said they’d get in touch if head office approved. A few weeks later Head office approved! Yes!
“Do you want to be a model?” the guy said over the phone.
“No” I admitted, “but I do want to be an actress” (so he didn’t feel bad)
“That’s great! Tons of models go into acting!”
“All you have to do is pay the modelling costs but you’ll get it back as soon as you get your first job no probs”
“Rosie, listen to me, are you the kind of gal who never likes to try anything new? As an actress, you have to be willing to jump into things, be spontaneous am I right? Or am I right?”
I lost £300. They never called again.
Fall Girl is showing at the Gilded Balloon until August 25th at 1.45pm