woman almost scammed at starbucks

Iljanaresvara Studio/Shutterstock @selfmademillennial/TikTok (Licensed)

‘These scam artists are getting crafty’: Woman claims she was ‘almost scammed’ at Starbucks after stranger asked for help

'Alarm bells are going off in my head.'


Phil West


Posted on Sep 17, 2023

A woman revealed that she was nearly the victim of a scam perpetrated at a Starbucks by someone with a phone, a USB cable, and an unusual request.

TikToker Madeline Mann, who uses the account name @selfmademillennial, shared a video on Thursday that’s garnered more than 867,000 views as of Sunday. In the video, she films herself walking through a city after starting with, “I almost just got scammed at a Starbucks.”

She explains that she was working on her laptop at a Starbucks when she noticed a woman staring at her. “Now, I didn’t think anything of it,” she said. “Because people do sometimes stare at me. They recognize me from the news or from social media because I help job seekers go job shopping, and they might have seen my YouTube channel or something.”

She said the woman eventually came over with a dead cell phone, asking Mann if she could plug her phone into Mann’s laptop for a few moments to get a charge.

“Alarm bells are going off in my head,” Mann noted. “I paid attention to the cybersecurity trainings of how you should never allow anyone to plug anything into your computer.”

Mann says she wanted to help the woman, saying, “The helpfulness in me so badly wanted to help her.”

Mann produced what she thought would be a solution: an external battery that fits the woman’s USB cable. But she then said that the woman was not happy with that solution.

“Her face, when I showed her this solution, showed me she was a scammer,” Mann said. “When I showed her the external battery, her face fell.”

@selfmademillennial Stay safe out there fam. These scam artists are getting crafty. Listen to IT professionals and level up your cybersecurity #cybersecurity #scammeralert #scammed #starbucks #workfromanywhere ♬ original sound – Madeline Mann

According to the TikToker, the woman wondered aloud if the battery would work, and when it did, took it back to her table. Mann claimed, “I gave her that battery fully knowing that there was a likelihood I would never get it back and I was OK with that.”

She finished the video wondering what would have happened had she let the woman plug the mystery phone into her laptop, and inviting commenters to weigh in with their own cybersecurity tips.

One commenter revealed, “People ask that at my job all the time if they could plug it into my computer. I tell them no and offer the external battery.” That person then added, “It’s funny because the cyber security part didn’t even dawn on me, I’m just kinda selfish and am already using the computer to charge mine.”

Someone else advised, “I don’t let anyone plug anything into my computer or plug my phone into anything except an outlet.”

Another went even further regarding using computers in public places, saying, “If you HAVE to use public wifi, use a VPN, don’t let anyone see your screen, don’t leave device unattended.”

The Daily Dot has reached out to the creator via TikTok comment.

Share this article
*First Published: Sep 17, 2023, 10:11 am CDT