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Old 06-03-2012, 07:18 PM   #21
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This is a scam, but a pretty harmless one. The homeless person knows her system has a better success rate that "Hi, would you please go in the store and buy me a roast chicken?" She knew you wouldn't use her money.

It was nice of you nonetheless.

Also nothing could induce me to take a stranger's wallet. "That's him officer!"

Sorry that life has made me so cynical.
I would have helped this lady and would have taken her wallet into the store. The chance that she could have a police officer believe that you or I stole her wallet is about zero. I never give cash to panhandlers, even the ones I know but I will buy them a meal.
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Old 06-03-2012, 07:29 PM   #22
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Around here in Boston about 20,000 EBT cards, (food stamps) are 'lost' (sold for cash) every month and have to be replaced to the person who lost it.

Until recently EBTs could be used for liquor, tatoos, lottery tix and even on cruise ships. Now the new law just lets you use them at any ATM machine for cash. Oh yeah...you can buy food with them too!

Sorry, but my tax dollars have paid for my cynicsm.
I don't know. I live in a small town in southern Illinois, and stand in line behind food stamp recipients regularly. Here, the cash registers will kick out any non-food item, just like when a credit card is not approved. The food stamp cards have no cash value either,
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Old 06-04-2012, 08:45 AM   #23
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I think you are awesome for caring about the life of a stranger. I don't need to spend a lot of time questioning her motives, or yours.
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Old 06-04-2012, 09:37 AM   #24
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I don't see how this is classed as a scam. The lady asked the OP to help her to buy some food. At no point (apparently) did she ask for anything else, other than a few moments of the OP's time. The OP decided to go above and beyond. Even if the lady waited for the OP to leave and then walked over to a late-model Cadillac in the supermarket car park which she then drove to her 4,000 square foot home in the suburbs, at no point has the OP done anything (apart from donating shopping time) that wasn't entirely in the his or her imagination.

(This does not mean that I don't think that the lady is very clever at manipulating people's feelings. But when you do something charitable, do you really insist on proof of suffering before you pony up? Most of us don't. I don't.)
Agreed, "scam" is not the right word. However, the woman was lying in order to manipulate -- she doesn't really have panic attacks. The wallet idea is ingenious. It puts you on the defensive, making you want to prove that you are an honest person. It also says "I trust that you are a good person and wouldn't take my wallet." You want to affirm that, and help out.

I'm not saying that the woman didn't need help. Tmm was very good to help her.

This reminds of an encounter in the Home Depot parking lot in Oakland, CA. A black man comes up to me and starts out with "Are you prejudiced?" followed with a request for a few dollars to buy gas because he's stranded.

Again, the "Are you prejudiced?" question makes you want to prove that you are not. I didn't fall for it, perhaps because of this previous encounter (from this thread):
Around 1983 I was walking to the bus station from work in San Francisco. A guy told me he'd run out of money, and needed fare back to San Jose. I gave him $2.

Three weeks later, I saw the same guy and heard him trying the scam on someone else. When he was done I walked near him, and, not recognizing me, he started in with the same scam on me. I said,

"Hey, I know how you feel, I was in your same situation once. I don't have any cash on me, but my wife is in the bus station. Let's find her and I'll give you what you need." So we wandered around until I saw some cops, then I grabbed him by the arm took him over to them, and described what happened.

They said they couldn't do anything, but that I could make a citizen's arrest, which I did. Don't know what the final outcome was.
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Old 06-04-2012, 09:43 AM   #25
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saw this old lady (looked about in her 70's) with a shopping cart.
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Old 06-04-2012, 09:52 AM   #26
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Originally Posted by TromboneAl

Agreed, "scam" is not the right word. However, the woman was lying in order to manipulate -- she doesn't really have panic attacks. The wallet idea is ingenious. It puts you on the defensive, making you want to prove that you are an honest person. It also says "I trust that you are a good person and wouldn't take my wallet." You want to affirm that, and help out.

I'm not saying that the woman didn't need help. Tmm was very good to help her.

This reminds of an encounter in the Home Depot parking lot in Oakland, CA. A black man comes up to me and starts out with "Are you prejudiced?" followed with a request for a few dollars to buy gas because he's stranded.

Again, the "Are you prejudiced?" question makes you want to prove that you are not. I didn't fall for it, perhaps because of this previous encounter (from this thread):

Around 1983 I was walking to the bus station from work in San Francisco. A guy told me he'd run out of money, and needed fare back to San Jose. I gave him $2.

Three weeks later, I saw the same guy and heard him trying the scam on someone else. When he was done I walked near him, and, not recognizing me, he started in with the same scam on me. I said,

"Hey, I know how you feel, I was in your same situation once. I don't have any cash on me, but my wife is in the bus station. Let's find her and I'll give you what you need." So we wandered around until I saw some cops, then I grabbed him by the arm took him over to them, and described what happened.

They said they couldn't do anything, but that I could make a citizen's arrest, which I did. Don't know what the final outcome was.
Thats funny Al. I loved your dedication. I wonder what the panhandlers will do when most everyone goes cashless. Carry a CC donation machine?
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Old 06-04-2012, 09:57 AM   #27
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I think you are awesome for caring about the life of a stranger. I don't need to spend a lot of time questioning her motives, or yours.
+1
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Old 06-04-2012, 09:59 AM   #28
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I don't know. I live in a small town in southern Illinois, and stand in line behind food stamp recipients regularly. Here, the cash registers will kick out any non-food item, just like when a credit card is not approved. The food stamp cards have no cash value either,
But we can buy with our food stamps cases of expensive bottled water, dump the water out and get a nickel back for the deposit.

Or trade stamps for dope 20 cents on the dollar.

I stand in line behind 5 folks in line at the local grocery store, they all speak spanish (1 mile from the border), pay with their Nutrition Assistance debt card, and get in late model SUV/pickup, some with mexican license plates.

Ms.G regularly shops at the health food store in Bisbee, for a neighbor that can't leave the house. All you need is the card and the PIN no questions asked. This woman eats way better than us.

Disclaimer, I don't pay Federal income taxes. So I have no dog in this fight.
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Old 06-04-2012, 11:21 AM   #29
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In the small towns I am familiar with in Idaho this simply isn't true.

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I think one difference is that in small towns, a homeless person will be identified, and be given the help that they need. Social services aren't overrun with applicants like in big cities. Public housing is often well under capacity. The lower cost of living makes government benefits go a lot further. Change some of those variables, and there would be a significant homeless population in small towns as well.
Yes, the homeless are quickly identified. But our ability to help is minimal, and most agencies are maxed out. The state cut services in this area, and nonprofits haven't been able to pick up the slack. Case in point: I am the president of the areas only homeless shelter. We offer an emergency shelter, subsidized housing and a foodbank. We have been at maximum capacity for years. Local foodbanks, including ours, are also at capacity.
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Old 06-04-2012, 11:44 AM   #30
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In the small towns I am familiar with in Idaho this simply isn't true.

Yes, the homeless are quickly identified. But our ability to help is minimal, and most agencies are maxed out. The state cut services in this area, and nonprofits haven't been able to pick up the slack. Case in point: I am the president of the areas only homeless shelter. We offer an emergency shelter, subsidized housing and a foodbank. We have been at maximum capacity for years. Local foodbanks, including ours, are also at capacity.
Have you noticed any begging for money in your small town? When I posted earlier about never seeing anyone asking for money in a small town, I wasn't suggesting that I lived in a wealthy town. There are all sorts of poor people in my town and like your town, the food banks are stressed to the max. I wonder why I have never seen a small town beggar ever. Maybe in small towns someone is always related to someone or knows them enough to help, and maybe in the city they don't?
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Old 06-04-2012, 12:22 PM   #31
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Begging is rare in small towns. Almost nonexistent in my town. Those that do are quickly removed by the police. Homelessness is nearly invisible here. You are correct as to why. In the summer the homeless camp in the woods. In the winter they couch surf at a friend or relatives.
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Old 06-04-2012, 12:29 PM   #32
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Have you noticed any begging for money in your small town?
There is plenty of begging going on in the small towns around here (populations: 350, 12,000, 17,000, and 30,000). People with cardboard signs at intersections are very common.
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Old 06-04-2012, 12:32 PM   #33
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There is plenty of begging going on in the small towns around here (populations: 350, 12,000, 17,000, and 30,000). People with cardboard signs at intersections are very common.
Warmer climates tend to see more of it.
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Old 06-04-2012, 04:32 PM   #34
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Lots of scams in this world, and lots of folks who fall for them.

4 Women Arrested in Panhandling Scam
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Old 06-04-2012, 04:46 PM   #35
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Lots of scams in this world, and lots of folks who fall for them.

4 Women Arrested in Panhandling Scam
So innocent good hearted people get ripped off then the taxpayers get stuck with the cost of the arrest and jailing proceedings. I think a good old fashioned Singapore Caning would be my preference of justice. Painful lesson learned for the offenders, vengeance for the contributors, and minimal cost to the tax payers. Win-Win-Win scenerio
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Old 06-05-2012, 03:58 AM   #36
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Lots of scams in this world, and lots of folks who fall for them.
And some of them target the same victim for years.
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Old 06-05-2012, 06:07 AM   #37
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Gotta love the Onion!
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Old 06-05-2012, 08:53 AM   #38
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I think you are awesome for caring about the life of a stranger. I don't need to spend a lot of time questioning her motives, or yours.
Same here. I spent years working in DC and saw plenty of panhandling scams. I fell for a few, then wised up and learned how to handle even the most aggressive ones. I would have helped this lady too. I suspect she developed this technique as a way to get food. Don't see anything so bad about that.
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Old 06-05-2012, 11:18 AM   #39
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Since I stopped working in NJ and NYC (YAY!) a few years ago after 23 years, I no longer encounter the frequent homeless and panhandlers which were often an annoyance.

The last one I recall was in the Newport Mall in Jersey City, in the big food court area. Some annoying guy in a New York Jets sweatshirt was going from table to table asking for spare change. When my coworker and I left, I stopped by the management office to ask them if they had a no-solicitations policy at the mall. When the lady said they did, I told her there was a guy in a gree Jets sweatshirt in the food court. She thanked me and told me she would send a security man over there.
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Old 06-08-2012, 08:58 AM   #40
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At my local library there is always a cadre of about 5 to 10 homeless-looking folks sleeping in the soft chairs near the newspapers. No one ever kicks them out or hassles them, as far as I know.
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