On my way home today, I saw a man standing by the side of the road with a begging sign.
He needed money to get home, a job fell through. His kids were in the van.
I didn't stop. I couldn't keep myself from thinking that he was most likely a scammer. It disgusted me that he'd be using his kids in that way.
I stopped for gas, and a young man asked me for money, he was stranded, needed money to get home. He pointed to his girlfriend, who had tears in her eyes. He commented on how his credit cards were maxed out, so they were no use.
I told him that I wouldn't be giving him any money, because I couldn't tell who was a scammer. He said that he would rather give someone the benefit of the doubt than take the risk of refusing help to someone who really needed it.
On my way home, I was thinking about the anatomy of the scam. Both were fundamentally the same...
1. The person tried to make themselves look as something other than a common beggar, by giving the impression this is a "one-time" request, something borne out of desperation.
2. The person tried to make you feel sympathy for someone in their care. A girlfriend, or three young children.
I could have why there was no-one at home, no friends, no relatives, who could send them money to get home. The answers would have just been a lie.
I really hate not being able to help someone who appears to be in genuine need. But there's just no damn way to tell.
It's also damn curious how on a sunny friday afternoon, prime party weather the day before a major concert at green river gorge, people are in need of money to "get home"
it's a gas..
- ▼ August (10)