GringoPost | Ecuador: Please be aware - "Bird Poop" scam

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Please be aware - "Bird Poop" scam

This evening in San Sebastian Park around 4 PM, I was watching my wife enthusiastically pet a cute little puppy that didn’t appear to have an owner. I was wearing shorts, standing in line with the benches maybe 10’ from her, my back facing Hotel Azul. Unexpectedly, I felt what I assumed was a liquid hit the back of my legs. Concerned but not alarmed, I avoided freaking out. Instead, I slowly twisted to my right to view the liquid just as three respectable-looking young locals passed by me walking over to my wife. I quickly noted there were definitely no birds in sight, and I wasn’t under any trees. Did one of them spit on me? Sneeze on my legs? Red Flag #1. I knew there was some sort of liquid down my back and across my legs, but other than immediately looking up for a bird and maybe appearing slightly embarrassed I’d possibly been pooped on, I didn’t move at all to check it out further.

The group were in their mid-20s, 2 females, 1 male. All were somewhat overly-friendly and a little too wide-eyed – maybe as if something was up? Red Flag #2. All three approached my wife and began to casually chat with us in Spanish. Other than the too friendly, too fast concern, Red Flag #3 was how quickly (90 seconds?) the guy in the group asked my wife to use his cell phone to take his picture. Couldn’t either of his female companions take his picture? Couldn’t he just take a selfie? Suspicious. That immediately tweaked both of our Spidey Senses. My wife also noticed how closely he was staring at her cell phone while taking his picture, so she nonchalantly moved her phone from her front jacket pocket to her back pocket.

But what was the scam I thought? To steal something from her in broad daylight with so many people nearby? At this point, I was supposed to be focusing my attention on cleaning the “bird poop” down my back probably with the help of the two girls, at which time my wife was supposed to be distracted enough to have her cell phone, wallet or purse stolen. I hadn’t moved, so they technically couldn’t see I had bird poop on my back, and I was laser-focused on my wife having noted the third Red Flag.

The scam wasn’t following the script. Abort mission.

So … literally 3-4 minutes after entering the park and engaging with us, they decided to stop chatting and move on. Passing by me, it was only then they allegedly noticed the bird poop on my back. All three immediately (and I mean immediately) produced clean, unfolded napkins to help me clean up. Wow, how extraordinarily convenient you all have clean-the-bird-poop-up napkins! Red Flag #4. They didn’t want to give me the napkins, they wanted to help clean me off to get closer and obviously ... steal something. However, all along I knew they had no line-of-sight to the poop because I intentionally and strategically kept my back away from them – continuing to avoid embarrassment. Red Flag #5, Spidey Senses fully engaged. I declined their assistance with much no-no-no hand waving, and they moved on.

After arriving back home and checking my back, it was obvious the liquid was sprayed. And wasn’t bird poop. I also Googled it, and there are a number of spots on the Net where you can find info on this Scam, here’s one of ‘em: https://www.flightnetwork.com/blog/bird-poop-scam-deal/

Good news side-story: After cleaning up and changing my clothes, we came back out to the park. The puppy was gone. A local, kind-hearted lady who spent nearly 2 hours waiting for the owner of the puppy to show up tearfully announced that the worried owner had arrived and was reunited. The puppy apparently escaped. The puppy’s “guardian angel” was in tears and very emotional knowing the little dog would have had to spend the night on the streets. We all hugged each other. There were both tears and happiness.

Emotional evening!

Chris: .

City: Cuenca