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Saturday, July 26 2014 @ 07:10 AM EDT

Carlos Beckles Thompson Scams Another Expat At the Tocumen Airport in Panama

Crime & Punishment By DON WINNER for Panama-Guide.com - Received this morning via email: "Well I feel dumb. I just got back from a working trip to Honduras and stopped over in Panama. Long story short, I've been duped by this conman, and just found out when I decided to do some preliminary googling before contacting him. On the off chance that another voice added to the record will make a difference, here's my story: He approached me on the 8th of July 2009 in Tocumen airport, Panama, and over the next hour detailed some of what appears to be a habit: that he left his stuff in a taxi and had nowhere to stay. He said his name was Terry Allen, had a wife Michelle, and showed pictures of people whom he claimed were friends and family (I wasn't that interested, and suspect that he was running through a list of things to be trustworthy). He even had one of what appeared to be a US military funeral, and claimed to have just returned from Bagdad, where a friend of his was killed. The whole 'heroic soldier' thing I found a little hard to swallow at first, and would probably have avoided him had my sister not recently found herself penniless in a foreign airport, so his story played on my sympathies. (more)

  • He gave me an address: Terry Allen, 6158 S Ellis, Chicago IL 60649

  • the familiar email address: stopthewar00@hotmail.com

  • and a phone number: 001 773 220 9629.

  • I had some money on me and was fatigued from travelling, so probably a bit slow in the head at the time. I decided to be a good person and trust him, and ended up being scammed out of about $300.

  • In hindsight, his insistence on backing up everything he said with photographic or anecdotal evidence did seem suspicious. And when he made phone calls on a rather nice phone, I didn't hear a voice on the other end (I put it down to it just having a quiet volume). All I can add is that he's now a bit thinner than he was when the picture on that licence was taken.

  • If you have any further knowledge or resources to contact about this I'd appreciate it, or if you've stopped following the case just let me know and I'll look elsewhere.

  • Regards, A.

Another One Bites The Dust: This guy, Carlos Beckles Thompson, is a serial con man who constantly preys on tourists in Panama. He will only hit you with his "pitch" if he knows you are just passing through, a tourist, and not a resident. He does not want to take the chance of duping someone who will stick around long enough to file a complaint with the authorities. He has been doing this exact same scam for years, and his method continues to slowly evolve over time. This is the first that I've heard of him working the Tocumen airport - normally he's around the tourist hotels and such. I have no idea why the Panamanian authorities don't simply identify this guy and roust him every time he appears around tourists. He will continue to do this routine, probably for the rest of his life, because it's how me makes his living. And, like this victim, he now knows he's been scammed, but he also has not filed any kind of a complaint with the authorities, which means in effect as far as law enforcement is concerned it practically never happened. He gets away with it, and that's why he keeps doing it.

Copyright 2009 by Don Winner for Panama-Guide.com. Go ahead and use whatever you like as long as you credit the source. Salud.

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Carlos Beckles Thompson Scams Another Expat At the Tocumen Airport in Panama | 3 comments | Create New Account
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Carlos Beckles Thompson Scams Another Expat At the Tocumen Airport in Panama
Authored by: Anonymous on Saturday, July 11 2009 @ 10:41 AM EDT

He writes well......For an idiot. HOW CAN ANYBODY GIVE MONEY TO A COMPLETE STRANGER?? Point the stranger "in need" to the nearest person in authority.

Carlos Beckles Thompson Scams Another Expat At the Tocumen Airport in Panama
Authored by: Anonymous on Sunday, July 12 2009 @ 05:25 PM EDT

Remember - An American in trouble can easily contact the US consulate for help.

If you ever feel compelled to help anyone claiming to be a stranded (money-less) US citizen in Panama, just offer to help them find a cop or an authority who will help put them in contact with the US consulate. If they are truly stranded, they should appreciate your help while they wait for official assistance. If they suggest that they only need money to get back on track, or if they make an excuse to leave...then they are probably up to no good.

It is not uncommon to hear a local "street-people" speaking fluent English call-out to gringos (expat or tourists) from the edge of parking lots near casinos, tourist hotels and grocery stores. In perfect or near perfect English you will hear, "Hey buddy, how are you doing?" or "Hey my friend, do you remember me?" or "Wait-up a minute, I'd like to talk to you."

I don't mean to be so callous, but I know better. When any local person singles me out from a distance among other passersby, then starts talking to me in English, my guard immediately goes up. If I do not immediately recognize the person I put my hand-up and point directly at them and tell them in very stern English to "back-off and to stay away from me" (If I think I am as big or bigger I usually include a few very colorful adjectives that these English speakers clearly understand). They quickly realize that such a rude gringo (as I can be in this particular type of situation) is probably not worth the effort or hassle.

Con-artists on the streets will try to engage you in conversation so they can gain your confidence, hence the word "con". They will cleverly hit you up for money, offer you a ride, offer you drugs or illegal (unlicensed) women, or anything in between. It also could be entirely possible that they are working with corrupt cops to fabricate a situation that places you on the wrong side of the law. All it takes is an appearance that you are talking to a suspected drug dealer or some other illegal activity to place you in a situation where they can leverage money out of your wallet in exchange for your freedom.''

Don't be a chump.

What scares me the most about these people is you do not know to what lengths they go. Therefore, in situations like this where your gut is telling you that you are being singled-out or targeted, get verbally loud before they reach your personal space. Also, the louder you can be the better. Your loud "bark" should indicate that you have an equally mean "bite". In most cases these street people are cowards and they will quickly back away from you if you manage to get everyone in earshot looking at you.

Also, be ready to employ a different tactic if it is apparent that there are more than one, or the one is huge and mean looking. In this case, I am a little more diplomatic. I smile, wave, shrug my shoulders like I can't hear them and keep moving away from them and (hopefully) towards a place of safety.

Then as soon as you can, get out of that area and keep moving until you can be certain you are well away from them.

Rusty

Carlos Beckles Thompson Scams Another Expat At the Tocumen Airport in Panama
Authored by: Anonymous on Wednesday, July 15 2009 @ 07:02 AM EDT

This guy got me for $20 at a internet cafe near Hotel Acapulco and the small Fiesta Casino. Same exact story about him leaving his tuff in a cab. Insisted he get my e-mail so his wife could paypal me the money.

What a scam artist. I hope the Panama police arrest this guy or better yet he tries to scam someone that knows who he is and they scam him right back.

Crazy that I just saw him here. remember his face exactly.