Sunday, March 4, 2012

Pan Handling and Scams

We've been hit with scammers lately.  This particular lady claimed that she was selling magazines to be given to the women's homeless shelter (we live in a sprawling metro area and she didn't specify which was one giant hint that it was a scam).  She said that it was so she could raise money to become a motivational speaker (another hint).  Motivational speakers are usually asked to speak and given money.  You don't need to pay to become a speaker.  We politely told her no.

There was another gentlemen who claimed his mags sales would get him a trip.  At least he was more believable.  But I politely told him no too.

While I'm sure that there are door-to-door magazine sales people, the vast majority of magazine sales is done through those little inserts in the mags, free magazine offers, and through the mail.  Don't purchase a mag from a person.  Purchase them through the mag itself or you'll never see them.

And then there's been pan handling.  I recall one incident where Hubby and I, newly weds at the time, were coming back from purchases late at night (oh those were the days when we went together).  A lady asked us for money so I said we couldn't give her money (as I never ever keep cash on hand for this very reason) but would offer her some apples that I had bought.  She was honest and said no, she didn't need food.  She had food stamps.

Then this evening another woman claimed her children were hungry and she needed money.  I did the same thing but offered oranges (since that's what I had bought) and yogurt.  She begrudgingly took an orange but refused the yogurt.  I don't think her kids were hungry.

In this day and age there is no reason for anyone in need to be hungry.  As I pointed out to Hubby while we passed a young woman holding a sign, if that woman had walked about a mile she could have gotten assistance from St. Vincent de Paul rather than waste her time on a street corner.  And that's the rub.  I give donations to organizations who help feed the poor.

And it doesn't stop there.  If you are in need of rent assistance, clothing, buss passes, gas vouchers, you can find them through St. Vincent's or any other church.  There is absolutely no reason why a person can't get the help up that they need.  And there is absolutely no reason why I should be giving that woman money.  I know for a fact that just up the street is my church.

I know that they are looking to rip people off, play on my heart strings, but it's truthfully hardened me.  My dad, I suppose, feels the same way because when he worked down town he used to direct people to the local soup kitchen.  He knew they weren't really looking for food.  He figured it was booze or drugs.

So for the Love of St. Pete, please don't anybody give anybody money.  Go get them food or direct them to the local St. Vincent de Paul.  If you really want to help the poor, do so through an organization either with donating money or time.

1 comment:

  1. Agreed. I had a lady come up and ask me for money (for food for her kids, she said) just as I'd finished a transaction at an ATM (outdoor, but not a drive-through). I directed her to the Baptist church down the road and also recommended St. Vincent de Paul, and she looked offended and annoyed and walked away.

    Sorry, lady, but the fact that you're hanging around an ATM waiting to hit people up, and there's no evidence that you actually have children...


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