People in the whereabouts of Mater Dei Hospital should be on the lookout for Maltese individuals who say they’re in need of money for a relative being treated at the hospital.
Acting desperate and using emotional tones, these individuals approach other people pretending they need money because a relative of theirs was taken to the emergency department and have no other way to communicate with their family.
Some people have fallen victim, giving these individuals money without asking questions, little realising that they were just handing out cash to people who are not really in need.
One such victim as approached The Malta Independent with his story:
“He told me that he was my cousin’s son and that he was struggling financially, and once he mentioned family I believed what he was telling me me,” Kevin*, an elderly man who was approached by one of the scammers outside the Emergency Department last week, said.
“I was going for my daily walk when I was stopped by a man who was well groomed and I would say in his mid-thirties, and he asked me if I recognised him, stating he was my cousin’s son, who currently was in hospital.”
Kevin explained how the whole thing appeared well-rehearsed and planned and the man was fully confident in what he was doing. “He was not aggressive in any sort of way, but once he mentioned that a family member was unwell, I felt pity for him straight away and wanted to help out.”
The man told Kevin that he was struggling financially, and was ashamed to inform other family members that he could not even afford petrol; which was when Kevin gave him €40 without further questions. When asked whether Kevin took any of the man’s details, he said that it did not even cross his mind to do so, nor to ask what the man’s name was.
“I was completely scammed, and the man knew that such a plan would work on me, as I am retired and I am aware that most of my relatives are also old. So my initial reaction was to worry and to help in any way I could. I did not even ask him to pay me back. It was only later when I checked with my family members, and none of them were in hospital, that it dawned on me that I had been scammed. They showed me photos of the children of my cousins and none of them looked like the man who had approached me.”
“This man is Maltese and used an emotional tone which completely took me off guard.”
*Name was changed to protect identity
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