My brother's in New York and I was reminded of a scam we fell for there once. This wasn't the typical Time's Square Elmo-league stuff, but seemed quite legitimate! I wanted to recount the story in case it might help someone.
We were planning to visit the Empire State building (which by the way, wasn't that great, especially that foggy day) and when we arrived there we were shocked to see a queue going all around the block and across several streets. We were approached by a man named DeShawn Cassidy selling the New York Pass.
"You can leave. Your Wallet. At home," he says. "You can laugh at aaaaall these people," as he points to the massive queue, telling us we can skip it with the glorious New York Pass. It's fast-lane entry and cheaper tickets into the Empire State building and a bunch of other attractions around New York within a certain time period.
He was a very convincing and charismatic salesman. We asked him why the people in the queue aren't cleaning him out if it's so good. He threw his hands up and said, "It behooves me!" misunderstanding what that word means.
We paid him $80 for 5 passes I believe, which was a great deal. He rubbed his hands like a fly about to have a meal as we were taking the money out, and gave us a receipt, staking his name and reputation on it, "DeShawn Cassidy", and that we can call him at any time if we need anything.
Of course, you know how the rest of the story goes. DeShawn was all but erased from existence, and we didn't have the opportunity to "laugh at all these people" as the security made us queue like everyone else. The special entrances were only for people who actually worked in the building.
We thought that maybe there's a faster queue inside, after clearing the building queue, and at least we don't need to get new tickets. Wrong again! The man at the till took one look at our little plastic cards, and in the strongest New York accent that still rings in my mind to this day, said the infamous words:
New York Pass? Don't do nothin'!