Yonge-Dundas Square is the city’s hub for scammers to crawl the streets.

Illustration: Jess Tsang

Scams and Jams: The art of walking away

In News /

By Jake Scott

You’ve finally made it to Rye High here in the big smoke. Perhaps you’re coming in from overseas, or maybe you came in on the turnip truck from “up north” like myself. Either way, you’re not in Kansas anymore. It isn’t all bright lights and opportunity at the centre of the universe.

Here in the dirty Dot, everyone is hustling for that paper, and you’re likely to be the unwitting supplier of that cash. To avoid that, we at The Eyeopener have prepared some quick hits on how to avoid common scams and random jams.

First off, our proximity to Yonge-Dundas Square means that you will suffer a never ending barrage of street jugglers and comic book peddlers. All of which are okay.

The people who want to scam you are the guys with the black history month “magazine.” Through guilt and sometimes a bit of bullying, they will “give” you the magazine for a “donation.” Or, whatever you end up forking over.

The reason I call this a scam is that most of the information within the magazine is either useless or incorrect. I mean, I’m 99 per cent sure that Beethoven wasn’t black.

Besides, what they’re selling on the street isn’t even the full magazine. The full version can be purchased online, but you’re better off using your internet connection for porn.

Let’s talk a bit about drugs next.

Now, we here at The Eyeopener don’t condone the use of illegal substances, but if that’s something you’re going to try then at least be smart about it.

Don’t be an idiot and pick drugs off the ground and don’t buy anything from anybody on the street. Asking people around this area for drugs is like wearing a shirt that says “rob me” while holding a Rolex. You might end up smoking catnip or worse.

Find someone you trust, get to know them. Maybe do some Erowid research before trying anything too crazy.

There will be many a time that you find yourself coming to a screeching halt at the cheerful interruption of a charity worker. There’s nothing wrong with charities, but sometimes you have to get places.

You need to suppress your inner Canadian and just walk on. The best kept secret in this country is the fact you don’t have to be polite to people, or even acknowledge them all the time. This also goes for panhandlers and buskers. It’s great to give what you can, but in this city if you give to everyone who asks you’ll be broke by sundown.

I know the temptation you feel. You’re young, fresh out of highschool and by god do you want to drink. Suddenly you find yourself in Toronto and you notice the “Fake IDs Sold Here” signs. Well trust me, friend, they don’t work. They won’t work in Toronto and they probably won’t work elsewhere.

Each fake ID is technically made legal by a miniscule disclaimer on the backside of the card. It explains how fake the card is. Bouncers know this, everyone else does too. Don’t think you’re a smart cookie by spending $40 on useless plastic only to get turned down on your first night out.

Our fifth and final scam is the scariest of all: Frosh week bank accounts and credit cards. Some of you may have already been suckered into these terrible scams. We’re sorry, and we’ll cry for you. As for everyone else who may be on the fence about these seemingly reasonable credit cards. Just don’t do it.

Put down the pen, don’t sign that contract. No self-respecting adult would sign up for this heinous garbage and you shouldn’t either.

Those are the basic scams and jams you may find yourself in.

There are more that may arise, though I hope they don’t. Stay safe, don’t get into strange vans and always have a way home. And never fall for the cruelest scam in Toronto: expensive beer. See you at the Ram!

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