10 Years of Blog Archive

Sunday, November 23, 2014

Is This the Gringo Woman Who Swindles Expats In Cuenca Ecuador?

 This woman in the photo above tried to swindle me and Frank

Last Saturday, Frank and I were going about our errands as usual when we were approached by this gringo-woman, with a proposition. Now, hang on to your hats, it wasn't that bad, but... It was a beautiful warm, sunny morning, about a half a block from Park Calderon on Gran Columbia when this woman starts blurting out her story. Here’s exactly how it went.

Woman: Excuse me, I heard you two talking in English, so maybe you can help me. 

Me: Ok? 

Woman: I’m from South Africa and I’m trying to get to my Embassy… 

Me: (I cut her off) Oh yes, I read all about you from an expat who posted about you scamming people in Cuenca. Sorry lady but you are all over the Internet; someone has already posted about your scamming. You’re going to have to go somewhere else to scam gringos.

She just stood there in awe; she was at a loss for words. She obviously did not know that she was already written up about.

As we turned around and walked off she spouted something under her breath but loud enough that we could hear her. “You two are going to be sorry (cuss word) for not helping out a poor woman with no money, hell is waiting for you!”

She seemed a bit off her rocker. It was then I actually did feel sorry for her, but not sorry enough to give her any money. We walked through the Calderon Park, watching her on the side walk where Tutto Freddos is located. She was clearly looking for gringos to tell her scamming story to.

Well wouldn’t you know it, she crosses the street and into the park and we happened to meet up with her again at the corner of the park.  At this point she seemed really angry and was calling us dirty names and such; she appeared embarrassed that we were on to her “not so good” motivations. 

Yes, it’s sad that she has to resort to this kind of living but swindlers appear to enjoy swindling others, and that's why they do it, besides the fact they have no morals. Apparently, according to the Cuenca expat she scammed about a month ago, she took in a pretty good day's work off him and other people within earshot of hearing her sad story.

As we crossed paths, I decided to take her photo but unfortunately, I was a bit too a far away but she saw us taking her picture and she gave us the finger; how lady-like. She was really upset that we were on to her scheming.

Here's What Lady Swindler Looks Like

She is a disheveled-looking gringo in her mid 40’s to mid 50’s. She is built very top-heavy and is about 5’6” tall and appears to weigh approx. 200 pounds. She has straggly, dirty brown-reddish hair. She wears those infamous (for Cuenca) tight leotard type pants and those plastic slip on holey shoes. She has an accent. You’ll know her when you see her, as we haven't seen any other gringos swindling expats in this manner in Cuenca, at least to our knowledge.

Her plight may make some of you feel sorry for her, however, from the looks of it, after doing more Internet research I learn she is able to scam gringos all throughout Ecuador with her sad, sad stories of being robbed and needing to get to her embassy in South Africa. She is making fairly good money in Ecuador from the na├»ve gringos, otherwise she wouldn’t still be here.

She is most-likely using the money for her alcohol habit so please do not feel sorry for her and enable her addiction. If you feel you must give her something, buy her lunch or buy her some food or clothing, but please do not give her any more money.

Her story is always the same; she’s from South Africa and needs to get to her embassy; she has been robbed of all her money and passport….but based on the large take she took in from the above expat, and the fact that a bus ride to Quito is only $10 where the South African Embassy is located, and after all, she's still in Cuenca! That story has obvious flaws.
This is the original photo. I enlarged the one above so you can get a better view of her.

She’s pretty upset because she is exposed and will probably have to move on somewhere else. There’s enough scamming going on in Cuenca as it is, we don’t need more of it. 

Be careful gringos! 

We're an Expat Family of Five Living Frugal, Healthy and Happy in Cuenca Ecuador! Enjoy the Discover Cuenca Ecuador blog!


  1. Good blog post.

    Here are a few things I have heard about her from other expats:
    In Guayaquil, she was seen staying at the Radisson (about $100/night)
    In Manta, she was seen driving a blue car

    Based on those tidbits, she does not appear to be lacking for cash. It seems she finds enough people to scam to lead a pretty decent lifestyle.

    1. Thanks Emily. We believe she has been exposed here in Cuenca so hopefully no one else will be swindled. Bloggers in Manta and Guayaquil should also write about her on their blogs warning the gringos...and if they can get another photo of her.

    2. After we met her in Puerto Lopez a couple of months ago, we went to the police and explained her 'gig' to them. They now have her picture and several of us are hoping to see her again so we can alert them to her presence.

      I have a picture of her that was taken near a university in Guayaquil a couple of years ago - she looks almost the same. I am emailing it to you now.

  2. I also know for a fact that she scams Ecuadorians because she was asking an elderly couple that ran a small shop for help and involved us because we "spoke English" We refused to give her any money as her story didn't seem quite right and walked away but later I asked the storekeeper couple and they told me they had given her money to help her out.

    1. Thanks for the info. That's too bad. I guess then we should be saying "beware people in Ecuador"!

  3. A friend and I bought her lunch in Quito about 8 months ago but that is all she got from us because her story sounded fishy.

    1. Wow, she really gets around, doesn't she? That's good you didn't give her money.

  4. So Imagine that today we had this same woman stop us here at the supermarket in Manta. The very same question and story. We had knowledge of her scheming ways so we told her that we know about her and we just walked away. She yelled insults... what a shame!!!!

  5. We have encountered this lady in Miraflores, Lima, Peru in June 2018. She claimed that her family in South Africa cannot send her any cash via Western Union because she doesn't have her passport. After I suggested other ways of money transfer (gift card numbers and so on), she was pissed and changed her story and claimed that her family is broke. Finally I offered her some bananas I had but she said she's a diabetic and couldn't eat them. Then she started insulting us. Also, she smelled really badly of cigarettes.


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