We’re lucky to live in a safe city! Montreal is privileged to be a place with low crime and violence, although there IS a well-known bicycle theft epidemic… But it will only stay safe here as long as people stay smart and look out for themselves.
Case in point: a new “phone theft scam” is reportedly sweeping across Montreal!
“Can I use your phone?”
Odds are, if you’ve been living in a big city for long enough and you own a cell phone, you might have been asked a few times if someone could borrow your cell phone. Most of the time, this harmless request is a perfectly good way to lend a stranger a hand.
Now, however, more and more Montrealers are reporting that suspicious-looking people are trying to use this tactic to steal phones. They can apparently get quite aggressive, too; some may even threaten to fight with you if you refuse!
A Reddit thread started by Montreal-based user /u/themindset details the type of confrontation that is becoming more and more common:
I was approached by two different men today, one was outside in the morning and the other in a cafe in the afternoon. They asked to use my phone, I said no, and they became increasingly agitated.. threatening to fight and stuff.
Other Redditors quickly chimed in, saying they, too, had witnessed this type of scam.
One commentator said a man approached him and took a very aggressive tone when he refused to lend his phone: “he kept saying ‘I see it in your pocket!’ a couple times before he walked away,” said /u/Rookvrouw_Joke on the thread.
Another user said he has started noticing a pattern. “Been living in Montreal for 10 years, never been asked for phone but was asked 3 times in the span of 14 days last month.”
But the scariest story of all was shared by /u/chuckd46, who claimed to have been attacked and injured during a similar incident. He made the mistake of handing his phone over, but after the perpetrator had made his call, he and his friend “were jumped by him and his 4 friends. Broke my jaw.” His advice: “keep your phone in your pockets and keep walking.”