As for the fraudsters plying their trade in Centretown, I have no sympathy for them. Some of them are reasonably well known; they ply a myriad of scams with some success. Some years ago I had a visit from the $35 woman. It was late at night when this strange woman showed up on my doorstep with cheque book in hand and her fast talking sob story about having moved in nearby, a migraine setting in and needing to fill a prescription. Her bank card was corrupted so she could not withdraw money from her bank account or pay via Interac. Could I see fit to lend her $35, she would give me a cheque to repay me. I could not get a word in edgewise until she completed the pitch, but all the while stood there listening and wondering "who are you and why are you bothering me at this hour?" I told her "I can't help you" and shut the door. I learned this was one of her varied scams when I stumbled across a news report on her in the Ottawa Citizen newspaper and to my astonishment found that a great many people fell for her scam.
The thing to remember when you are confronted by a fraudster is it is nothing more than a stranger asking you for your money. They appeal to your charity and sympathy in feigning they are in distress: they are hungry, need medicine, bus fare, etc., but they are only after your money. I saw a rough looking woman impeding a man walking along Bronson Avenue haranguing at him that she needed money for a taxi to take her mother to the hospital emergency. I did not linger to see how this drama played itself out. I hope the man told her to get lost. When a stranger stops you and asks for money, just say no.