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Old 04-27-2013, 02:17 AM   #21
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I think you did both things right - giving the money, and then observing them and calling the police with crucial details when it became clear they were scammers working the neighborhood. I doubt the scammer has any idea who in the neighborhood called the police.
I find it easy to say, "No, I have already given to local charities," then just continue walking away (if in a public place). The OP's situation was intimidating, so clearly more action needed to be taken.

In our area, there is an organized crew of folks holding up cardboard signs which always say something like, "Homeless, no job, 3 kids, please help us." They stand at intersections and freeway off-ramps, waiting for cars to stop. A local social service organization published an article in the newspaper, stating that every one of the people holding signs had been approached by one of the organization's social workers and had been offered services if they qualified; so the public would be donating to people who were already receiving assistance.

Then a columnist wrote another article several months later, after the panhandling continued. He had some basic chores around the house he was willing to hire the panhandlers to do, since they were in such need. (I think it was work like lawn-mowing, pulling weeds, simple jobs.) So he approached several of the folks holding signs, offering them the work. None were available at that time to do the work. So, he asked them if they had Obama phones. Yes, they did. He asked if he could check back with them later; maybe they could help him with the chores on another day. They did give him their phone #s, so he could call.

He called each one back several days later. I can't remember all the reasons why they weren't available to do the work, but one person had some medical reasons.

That was several months ago. The sign-holders still persist, though.

My husband was a pastor when we were first married. Occasionally families would come to the church wanting $ for food, diapers or gas. So he would offer to take them to the grocery store or gas station to make a purchase for them. He was always turned down.

It's enough to make one think there are fewer needy people than we had thought.
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Old 04-27-2013, 04:08 AM   #22
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Call me cruel, but I always refuse to give money directly to strangers who ask. It comes from growing up in a large city. I constantly saw the same people asking for money for "emergencies" day after day (and sometimes running away or getting arrogant when I would ask "didn't you ask me for the same thing yesterday?"). I also knew more than a few people begging and bragging about the money they were making. The worst was a church who would send kids to hang around shopping centers and supermarkets to ask people to give.

If anyone came to my home asking I wouldn't open the door, if I was outside I'd give them my own "sob story" and direct them to several agencies I have volunteered at if they want help. I also get very alert, as a common thing is for someone to come to you outside your home asking for something while an accomplice tries to sneak around and do harm to you or to your possessions.

If someone asks me for gas money at a gas station I will offer to buy them gas, and I can do the mental math to figure out how much gas they need to get to where they say they are going. 90% of the time I am turned down. Or if someone on the streets asks me for meal money, I will offer to go buy a meal for them. Again, 90% of the time I am turned down. The 10% that accept are genuinely grateful. On a couple of occasions they have asked for my business card and weeks later have sent me back money (in one case it was double the money, from the father of a woman whose tank I filled who was trying to get home from college).

DW and I have been very generous in our time and financial support of local homeless shelters, food banks, etc. and have built up a network of resources we are able to refer folks to. We are surprised at how much that catches folks off guard.

However, I try to be generous when I'm no being asked. Its my way to perform "random acts of kindness". Sometimes I overhear than someone is in a bind, or short on money, and I'll offer to help them. I like surprising people like that.
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Old 04-27-2013, 04:17 AM   #23
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Good reminder to be very wary when someone approaches you in front of your home seeking assistance - that they may be up to much worse than a little panhandling.
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Old 04-27-2013, 09:35 AM   #24
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Having been a daily rider in the New York City subways from the late 1980s through 2001, I saw many panhandlers on the trains, even during rush hour when the trains were crowded (like it isn't bad enough already without usually smelly people pushing their way through a packed train car?). But we regulars wanted no part of them, so often these panhandlers would go through an entire car and get zilch.

From 2001-2008 I rode the PATH trains frequently and they were not nearly as bad in the panhandling department (PATH is a much smaller subway-like system) but they were still around from time to time. In those same years and in the years after I ERed, I have ridden the subways very rarely so I have not encountered them much. But the last time I rode the subways was last December just before Christmas. That's major feast time for the panhandlers because of all the out-of-town suckers who give (waste?) money on these moochers.

The commuter rail systems such as the LIRR rarely had panhandlers because of the presence of crewmen but sometimes when a train was waiting at Penn Station before heading out someone would board and beg for money "to buy a ticket to get home." Yeah, sure.
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Old 04-27-2013, 09:52 AM   #25
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I live in the city and like most cities, the poor and the rich don't live t0o far apart and beggars coming to your door is not that unusual. Nothing to be scared about.
So if soneone followed you into your garage, as happened to the OP, you'd find that nothing to be scared about? You are infinitely braver than I am!
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Old 04-27-2013, 10:01 AM   #26
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So if soneone followed you into your garage, as happened to the OP, you'd find that nothing to be scared about? You are infinitely braver than I am!
That was definitely scary for the op. I am referring to beggars either stopping you on the street or coming to your door and how common that is in cities. In the vast majority of situations like this, nothing to be afraid of. I would not open my door and I don't generally give to people on the street.
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Old 04-27-2013, 11:01 AM   #27
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I have about had it with panhandlers and such where we live.

We did have someone come to our door and dance around on the porch, which I could see through the glass on the door. He may have been harmless or a nutcase. I didn't care.

I yelled through the door, "GET OFF MY PORCH!" He left.

I have also been known to holler at the folks digging in neighborhood recycling bins.

I may be taking my life into my hands, but I think if someone came into my driveway bugging me for anything, I think my frustration would be about the same, and if I kept my wits about me, I'd yell something similar.

Just like Clint in "Gran Torino," only without the gun.

Not very nice and not very Christian, I guess, but I prefer other venues for my charity.
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Old 04-27-2013, 11:11 AM   #28
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Our community is located along a major north/south freeway. As a result, I suspect we garner more than our fair share of unfortunate folks who are in dire straights. We sometimes get folks who show up at Church "out of gas". Should I make the decision that this is a real situation and not a scam, my own policy is to have then follow me to a local station where I will put gas in their vehicle for them. That way I know it is going in the tank. I have not been wrong yet.
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Old 04-27-2013, 01:27 PM   #29
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Though I have always been fairly generous with the less fortunate, I have never given anything to anyone who approaches me on the street or in public. I always feel that it is a scam. I am probably incorrect at times, but will continue to do what I think is best.
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Old 04-27-2013, 01:51 PM   #30
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My uncle was a minister.

Every few days, someone would come to his house asking for money for food (often with little kids in tow). He'd send the across the street to the diner, telling them that he had an account there and get anything they wanted.

In over 15 years, NO ONE ever walked across the street to the diner. The diner's owner was a friend but said that no one ever came in on his tab. And, yes, the owner would've told my uncle if someone did.
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Old 04-27-2013, 02:39 PM   #31
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Wow, what an interesting thread this turned into.

I actually slept well last night and feel much better today, but DH and I continue discussing what we should/would have done differently. We've also come up with an "emergency phrase" to alert the other to the fact that something isn't right.

And a friend of mine who lives about 50 miles from here told me that this pulling in the driveway thing is a new scam in her area. And my cousin is a cop here in our area, and he also said they are starting to hear about more of this driveway tactic. The scammers know it's more disarming, which is their goal.

So, everyone be careful out there!
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Old 04-27-2013, 03:58 PM   #32
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Having someone approach me for money in my own driveway would scare the crap out of me no matter how convincing the sob story. ......
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I would be really upset if that happened to me, because a neighbor of ours was killed in his garage by someone asking for money. When he pulled out his wallet, he was killed. ......
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.......

Glad you are OK, it isn't always that way. 2 years ago only 1 block from my house some panhandler killed a passerby with an axe of all things, because he said no to this lunatic. A lot of these people are psychotic, or hyped up on drugs. Panhandlers and beggars are not harmless. And no matter what the PC bs about them, schizophrenics are sometimes not harmless either.

.......

I live in a rural area and for the most part no one can see my yard or house unless they are directly in front of the driveway, it is quite private here. If anyone ever followed me up my driveway I'd be extremely worried. I'd stop 1/2 way up the driveway, get out of the car and make it clear I am carrying a firearm. I wouldn't point it at them or verbally threaten them but I would make it clear that they are to leave immediately. If they refuse to leave I'd draw my pistol, move the car up to the garage, park and lock the car outside the garage, get their tag and go inside and call the state police.
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Old 04-27-2013, 04:12 PM   #33
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And a friend of mine who lives about 50 miles from here told me that this pulling in the driveway thing is a new scam in her area. And my cousin is a cop here in our area, and he also said they are starting to hear about more of this driveway tactic. The scammers know it's more disarming, which is their goal.
In some areas, going up someone's driveway uninvited is the best way to find yourself facing the nozzle of a shotgun...
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Old 04-27-2013, 08:47 PM   #34
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In some areas, going up someone's driveway uninvited is the best way to find yourself facing the nozzle muzzle of a shotgun...
+1, as amended
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Old 04-27-2013, 10:12 PM   #35
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So glad the OP was not physically harmed by this assault. No one has the right to remain on your property uninvited. I think I would offer to call the police and see if they could help them out.
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Old 04-27-2013, 10:56 PM   #36
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I am almost never approached, even though I live in the LA area.

This is one of the few advantages of being a heavily built 6'2" guy with what I am told is a permanent scowl even when I am in the best of moods.
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Old 04-28-2013, 04:19 AM   #37
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I heard one person say he only donates via his foundation. Now if the person would like to give him his address, he'd be happy to send the necessary paperwork.
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Old 04-28-2013, 05:51 AM   #38
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Gypsy musicians in Paris ride the Metro system as a group playing music for a few stops then passing the pan around for donations. I always donated because the music was good and I felt that they're offering an entertainment service for the money.

We live in the suburbs and we don't encounter beggers here but when visiting the city we are often approached by them and when I offer to buy them food they decline.
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Old 04-28-2013, 06:13 AM   #39
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I always say, "sorry, no", but DW is completely different. When we first moved to downtown area, a man came to the door, said his wife was having a baby in distant city, and he needed $20 for gas. DW said OMG, and went screaming to DD, and they gathered $40. She told the man that $20 was not enough to get him there and back.

She has limited her giving and trust these days. However, if someone asks her for money for food, she will likely walk them to local sandwich shop, and buy them a sandwich.
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Old 04-28-2013, 01:26 PM   #40
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Back in my drinking days, I was once approached by a panhandler in downtown Minneapolis late on a Saturday night. He asked me for money, but being savvy about the ways of panhandlers, I was worried that he would waste it on food or shelter.

I offered to directly buy him a drink instead, and he thought that sounded great so we went to the door of a local bar. Unfortunately, the bouncer knew the guy and wouldn't let him in, and when he discovered that we were together, I was unable to get in as well.

So ultimately, I was unable to purchase a drink for either of us.

True story.
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