Example. My brother is in town, and we were talking about scammers and beggars. I related the story of one local addict, the kind of guy who goes from looking pretty much okay because his family has cleaned him up, through increasingly scruffy, to Gone For A While. He has a hunted look and that near-permanent sunburn of the person who has been outside not by choice. Sometimes he just bums cigs, but he usually does the "out of gas" scam, which is a script I have not seen vary in multiple cities and decades:
"Hey, I feel really dumb, can I ask you a question here? I was at a [bachelor party,picnic,church] and didn't pay attention and I ran out of gas! I have to get back to [suburb about 20 miles away where no poor people live] tonight and I don't have my wallet on my. So dumb. Do you have a couple bucks?"
The last time our local guy did this my answer was "This is the third variation on that lie you have told just to me. Did you know that?" He looked surprised and said "Sorry! No, I didn't." and left. So that was kind of snarky and unnecessarily mean, since the poor fucker is a drug addict and kind of doomed. I got my button pushed by the lie and was nasty.
My brother told me in response that he'd been taken in by a young woman who worked this scam at the college where he works. There had been some kind of kampus kop alert about scammers so he reported his misadventure to the cops in case it was someone they were looking for, etc etc. The young policewoman who took the report mocked him to no end, basically calling in the other cops to say hey look at the dumb professor who fell for the scam haw haw haw, on and on. He was pretty upset. My response was that he should have replied:
"That's funny all right. Here's an even better joke. Did you hear the one about the girl who was so dumb she barely made it out of high school and ended up a third-rate rentacop working for the smart people? It's FUCKING HILARIOUS!"
I think I shocked my brother. I certainly shocked myself! Maybe I need to take up punching clowns or something.