Man Says He Handed Phone to Needy Little Boy, Soon Realized the Kid Hustled Him for $5,000


Imagine for a moment that you were walking down the street when a child who appeared to be in trouble stopped you and asked to use your phone to text their parents. What would you do in that situation?

Many of us might feel sad and sympathize with the child and give him the phone to either text or call his parents. After all, it is just a child in need, what danger could he possibly pose?

Unfortunately, one Milwaukee man discovered the hard way that even children who appear to be needy can sometimes actually have nefarious intentions behind their actions.

According to local outlet WISN, Anyon Rettinger of Milwaukee was working on his car in his driveway when a boy about 12 years old approached him and asked if he could use Rettinger’s phone.

Rettinger claims that the boy told him he was running out of funds and was far from home, and he needed to text his parents asking for help.

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Out of kindness, Rettinger opened his phone and even watched the boy begin to write a text message, but when he wasn’t looking, the child secretly went to his Apple Pay account and transferred $5,000 out.

The boy then left before Rettinger even knew what had happened, and naturally, he was left in complete shock and panic.

“And I’m just kind of like, that internal panic kicks in, you know?” he told WISN.

The outlet is also reporting that Rettinger believes that the boy watched him enter his passcode to the phone and then used it to bypass the facial recognition system to log into Apple Pay.

Would you let a needy child use your phone?

To make matters worse for Rettinger, his financial services provider, UW Credit Union has not been very helpful in mitigating the damage done by the incident.

Apparently, UW Credit Union is not planning to cancel the transaction or return the funds, claiming that as far as they were concerned, the purchase was valid. They even charged him overdraft fees for taking too much out of his account.

Rettinger also claims that he did not even have $500 in his account and that the transaction drained his savings and joint savings account, leading to a $500 line of credit in his name to cover the expenses, which he is expected to pay back.

Summing up the situation, Rettinger said, “Five thousand dollars in a very large grand scheme of things isn’t that big of a deal, but for a 27-year-old that doesn’t have a lot of money that’s trying to make it, it’s huge.”

Meanwhile, Apple and Milwaukee Police are investigating the incident.

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First off, it needs to be said that UW Credit Union needs to give Rettinger a little more slack and not be so legalistic. It is insane for him to be treated in this way when he was the victim of this crime.

It also needs to be said that while this was just one incident, it would not be surprising if this scam was happening across the country, especially given the rise in crime and the refusal of the civic authorities to adequately address the matter.

Americans have a tendency to want to be charitable and help others in need, which is a good thing, but that can sometimes take the form of naivety, resulting in them letting their guard down and getting scammed out of money like Rettinger did.

The next time a child you don’t know asks to use your phone, watch what they are doing very closely.

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Peter Partoll is a commentary writer for the Western Journal and a Research Assistant for the Catholic Herald. He earned his bachelor's degree at Hillsdale College and recently finished up his masters degree at Royal Holloway University of London. You can follow him on Twitter at @p_partoll.