We've written about these guys more often than we can remember but they keep coming back and people keep falling for their patter -- which may explain why they keep coming back.
The following is from "Sandy," a Patcher whose last name we're holding back for her security:
"I live in Orinda and just turned away a lady who rang my doorbell. She claimed to be a student from UC Berkeley, practicing her public speaking skills and gathering points and money for a trip to San Diego. She showed me a pass (or rather, a piece of paper in a plastic holder) that is supposedly a UC Berkeley student pass (it wasn't). She had cigarette breath and cigarette-stained teeth and a nose-pin. She claimed that many of my neighbors have signed up for books from her already, and all except for 1 family chose to pay for the books but have the books sent to Children's Hospital directly instead of getting it at their home. I told her that we are already involved with other charities and politely turned her away."
Sandy was wise to do so. Groups of these folks are currently working Walnut Creek and Pleasant Hill and they cruise through Lamorinda from time to time, usually brought to the area by groups who feed them a bogus story to repeat to unsuspecting homeowners.
We've heard a million different variations of the con, but there's always the same "hook."
"We have driven by your home a million times but keep wondering who lives here," or the time-honored "we just live up the street, you know us, my mom walks the Golden Labrador up your street every morning."
If you are brave enough to have some fun with these people and you want to see an interesting shade of pale, play along with the game and say: "Yes? How is your mom? You know, I haven't seen her in a while... Let's go see her now!"
This, of course, is not recommended.
These people don't like to have their stories challenged and, of course, they're here to build an instant familiarization and get your money.
Don't do it. Thanks, Sandy.