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Woman asking for sponsorship - scam?


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I live on Melbourne Grove and had a woman come to my house on Saturday night asking me to sponsor her business. To be honest I'm quite cynical about these door calls and already have my fair share of weekly 'towel sellers' who are quite aggressive and manipulative with their 'starving kids' spiel.

Anyway, I would say this particular visitor was a young black woman, small frame, approx 25-30 years old. She had a few plastic folders with some very amateurish scribbles on the front in marker pen, and her opening gambit was that she lived a few doors down at No.75 and would I be interested in helping her new business which seemed to be based around printing T-Shirts(?), although it seemed really vague.

Obviously not wanting to appear rude if she was a neighbour, I said did she have any designs as I didn't really understand what she wanted. She started getting flustered and saying that a lot of retailers in the area had contributed and that she was starting a new business blah blah.

I was getting increasing frustrated and said it all seemed a bit abstract and she still hadn't told me exactly what the business was but only mentioned something on printing T-Shirts and that she was just starting up. And that if she had something to sell then she should have brochures, website, pictures, or anything really, and to come back and I'll take a look.

She kept saying I didn't understand and began waving the sheet with some illegible words scribbled in marker pen and I was getting extremely agitated. She explained that's why she needed the funding and I didn't understand. She kept trying to speak and by this time I was getting really anxious as I thought I'd made my point - that she is welcome to come back once she had more solid info, products, prices, print-outs etc, as it all seemed vague to say the least.

She kept blathering 'You don't understand, this is an opportunity...let me finish etc' and so I kept cutting her off (after I have to repeat myself more than three times my patience goes), so I kept saying, 'No, that's it' enough. She started again, then again I butted in more forcibly 'No, that's it'. Then it all turned pretty emotional and I obviously upset her and she started to get tears in her eyes. My partner (who was in the garden) heard the raised voices and told me to go in the living room while he dealt with it. I said to her she should leave and I was getting upset and then she actually broke down in tears and this really upset me.

My partner asked if she was alright and between tears she said there had been a 'mis-communication' and started backing away. I went to the door apologetically and said I was sorry I'd upset her and my partner told her she'd better leave. Wiping her face she said she was really sorry and left. The whole experience left me really shaken and I felt terrible that I'd made someone cry.

God knows if this was a bona fide scam or just someone who was a bit crap with no business sense or printer, but it's still a bit weird to knock on people's doors at nine o'clock at night to invest!

Maybe I'll see her on Dragon's Den and she'll be vindicated...

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Based on the behaviour you describe, your visitor may have been experiencing the early stages of a nervous breakdown or mental illness - perhaps even the onset of mania or manic psychosis? But that's pure speculation on my part - I'm not a medical practitioner.
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I hate any door-to-ddor stuff as well - it's bad enough when you know it's a legit business like nPower doing the hard-selling but when you aren't even sure of that..

For what it's worth I think it's just someone who is hard up trying to earn a crust - i couldn't find evidence of it being a scam after (an admittedly cursory) google, but I found quite a few places like this


which is no good to you after your experience I know, but if it explains what happened it might help a little bit

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Sean, that link's a bit different... they're talking about selling t-shirts door-to-door. The OP's caller seemed to be asking for investment in her business.

It does sound as though she might have mental problems. Or perhaps she'd just had a tough day, getting turned away by everybody, and finally cracked. Either way, I wouldn't feel too guilty.

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To be honest - sounds a bit like this woman from an older thread:

Re: woman asking for money door to door new

Posted by: Emily March 30, 01:08PM

sorry I missed these threads - would have saved me ?6. She arrived on my doorstep (Forest Hill) last week, and even though I was 90% sure I was being scammed she got money out of me. I still think I'm the better person though! She is personable and clearly well practised at her spiel. Black, thirties, slimmish, medium height, tidy looking. And a thief. Sadly, I'll never give money again.

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Hey PK, now because she said 'up the road at No. 75' I assumed it was Melbourne Grove. So I have knocked at that address (mainly due to a mixture of guilt and curiousity). Obviously she didn't live there (nice pained column number though!) but there was a lovely woman who answered, and we had a nice chat about it and I said I was sorry to have bothered her. She was really nice about it all though. (Hi there if you visit the forum, thanks for not thinking I'm mad!).

BUT to be honest, as she said 'up the road' maybe she didn't mean Melbourne Grove. Anyway, I'd like to get to the bottom of it and just wondered if anyone else had received a visit on Saturday night and what street she'd told anyone else if it is a strange scam.


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