The man who approached Petar outside the Government Center T stop last month was sharply dressed, well spoken and even willingly gave his phone number.
The man, named Elliot, asked Petar for help, saying he had a flat tire and was in a crunch to get somewhere. He needed just $40 for the repair.
“He told me he’d pay me back within the next couple of weeks,” said Petar, who did not want his last name used. “I was stupid. I gave it to him.”
Besides Petar, there may be dozens more alleged scam victims.
It’s an unusual scam, police said, because Elliot does offer his victims his real name and telephone number, but it stops there.
Boston University police issued a fraud alert last year after arresting him for trespassing and larceny.
“He does have a track record here of similar activity and promising to pay people back,” said BU Detective Lt. Peter DiDomenica, adding that those incidents date back 20 years.
The phone number that Elliot uses is listed at least a dozen times on a directory website that includes other victim’s stories. They claim they were scammed out of $30 to $80 at various locations, including near the Harvard Square and Kendall MBTA stops.
Petar said when he called Elliot, Elliot said he was going through some hard times and would meet him during the weekend to give him back the money. When Petar tried calling back to set up the meeting, Elliot never picked up.
Petar said he was unable to reach Elliot to get his money back.
When reached by the Metro yesterday, Elliot said he “didn’t remember any of this” and then said “people sometimes fall on hard circumstances and they can’t get the money back.”
He then denied approaching people.
“I don’t have any idea what you’re talking about,” he said.
A Boston Police spokesman said Petar’s report was referred to a detective for investigation.