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Holiday Scams

(24 posts)
  • Started 1 week ago by mso489
  • Latest reply from blackadderlxx
  1. mso489

    mso489

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    To the many good-hearted folks on Forums, be on guard for holiday scams, in person, by phone, and online. These people (the grifters) are heartless. They'll approach you as you struggle your big Christmas tree through the front door, ignore your quiet hints at your own problems, tell you a story about their broken down truck (nowhere in sight) and dun you finally for twenty bucks they promise to return under the front door mat, which of course never happens. In the Walmart parking lot, women will use kids as props to make their stories of misfortune more tangible. Without being mean, have on hand the number for the Salvation Army or other organization that can help them. Sadly, the holiday season is also the scam season. Don't give the scammers any traction.

    Posted 1 week ago #
  2. cosmicfolklore

    Cosmic

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    Thanksgiving weekend, I stopped at a Rest Area to... use the facilities. A guy approached my truck and started rambling on about his dead son, a truck somewhere that needed to be towed, someone was going to do something... I just keep a few $5 bills on me. With the smell of alcohol fumes coming off of him, it is worth a $5 just to keep those guys moving away from me and my family.

    Michael
    Posted 1 week ago #
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    milehighpiper

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    So true. I give to organizations and specific groups that help individuals. Not to individuals! Call me cold-hearted but where I live, people hold up signs that say, “Who am I kidding, its for weed”. I have my own smoking addictions!

    Posted 1 week ago #
  4. midwestpipesmoker70

    midwestpipesmoker70

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    Good idea with the $5 dollar bills Cosmic. And don't forget that the new thing is getting packages stolen off of your porches. Make sure to make proper arrangements with shipping so nothing valuable gets stolen, that is if you reside in a location where something like this could happen. I live in a small town and never used to lock my car or even house at times. Well, after spending a few years in a big city I changed my ways. After moving back home to my small town I lock everything out of habit. In a town where nothing happens, guess what? Last year there were a rash of cars and garages broken into. You can never be to safe.

    Nate
    Posted 1 week ago #
  5. georgebmcclelland

    georgebmcclelland

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    This is a sad but true aspect of the holiday season, but it's always good to remember that some folks out there are genuinely in need, and that not everyone asking for a little help is a scam artist. This is a subject that can/will cause some heated debate, but in my opinion it's always best not to judge everyone by the same rule, especially if you've never been in that situation. Speaking generally, and to no one person in particular, I believe that If you've lived your whole life with a roof over your head, folks who care about you, a good source of income and never had to worry about where you're getting your next meal, surely you can afford to kick down a few bucks to someone who hasn't. Again, this is a general observation, as I can't possibly know what any one person has been through.

    I've personally been in situations in my life where I had nothing at all, and may not have survived without the kind help of strangers. I always did my best to find work wherever I went, so this hardly ever had anything to do with money, but came in the form of food, water, shelter, stopping on the highway to pick me up stranded in the middle of nowhere. Being out on my own as a kid I learned a lot about the indifference of a great number of people, but I also learned that there are still good folks out there, and I try to pay it forward every time I see someone in need. It doesn't have to be giving money; if i'm unsure about someone I'll ask if he/she would like something to eat. If they refuse the food, they're probably dishonest. Personally, I don't really mind if someone is honest and tells me they want a few bucks for a beer. It sucks being homeless, with nothing and no one, especially around the holidays when it's cold outside. If you're honest and tell me you just want beer, hell, I'll buy you a beer.

    Again, it's impossible to deny that there are a great many scammers out there, I just wanted to put it out there that this is not always the case with everyone.

    Posted 1 week ago #
  6. scloyd

    scloyd

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    Years ago I was working on a job in Chicago and this homeless guy walks up to me and says "For a dollar I can tell you how many children your father had just by looking at your shoes". Being busy and not wanting to be bothered I said "OK, if you can tell me how many kids my father had I'll give you a dollar." He looks down at my shoes and says "None, your mother had the children." I fell for it. I reached in my pocket and dumped a handful of change in his hand. We smiled at each other and he walked away.

    scott
    Posted 1 week ago #
  7. kcghost

    kcghost

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    It can be very tough to sort the scammers out from the truly needy, but I take the stance that it is better to err on the side if charity.

    Posted 1 week ago #
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    jguss

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    when it comes to loose change and small bills i'm a soft touch, and will give to anyone i see, or who approaches me, who looks like they need a hand.

    when it comes to more organized giving it's different. my wife and i seek out and support local organizations, review their stats on charity navigator, and avoid those with high administrative costs. it's not just a question of scams. even with legit charities i want the vast majority of money we donate to go to the people who need it.

    as for telephone, email, or snail mail solicitations: i'm completely uninterested.

    Posted 1 week ago #
  9. mso489

    mso489

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    I don't feel good about possibly stiffing people who could be in trouble, so I don't go past the Salvation Army bucket without stuffing in a folded bill. But I don't think I'm doing those kids any good by forking over money to their supposed moms out of pity. If she's legit, she needs to get with helping organizations. I have caller i.d. and am wary of about half the calls that come year 'round. One corporation now makes my name pop up on caller i.d., but this is a "reputable" outfit I've never trusted. I've gotten robo calls with threats, that must rake in some money from elderly and other vulnerable people. Some of these social media people ought to retire on their fortunes and devote themselves to preventing that.

    Posted 1 week ago #
  10. pappymac

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    When you drive by the same location on a daily basis and continually see the same person sitting on a bucket with a sign, it makes you wonder if they are really needy or if that's their day job.

    For example, two or three years ago, a local tv station did a series on panhandlers. One of them was the old woman who begged for money wearing an old ragged coat. At the end of the day, she would walk to the other end of the block in get into a new Cadillac which still had the dealers tags on it.

    I am glad we have a good admin and responsible moderators.

    Heave to Black Frigate! Prepare to be boarded!
    Posted 1 week ago #
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    jguss

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    A famous Sherlock Holmes story runs along similar lines.

    Posted 1 week ago #
  12. ashdigger

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    In 1984 I was a newly married guy full of hope, optimism and ignorance. Life hadn't taught me hard lessons. One day while my wife and I were driving back to our humble apartment we saw a panhandler with a sign decrying his desperation, so we went to our apartment and loaded up some leftover chicken and stuff (sign said "hungry") and drove back to where he was. We offered him the food and some beverages. He threw the food in his car and then said that he preferred cash. The next day I drove past that intersection and there he was.

    I do not give anything to panhandlers. I make my donations to established organizations to do what they do.

    Having said that. I was driving into Vegas one day and there was a woman with two small children broken down by the side of the road. It turns out they were fleeing an abusive relationship in Idaho and were trying to get Southern California where her parents lived. I got the car going good enough to get them to Vegas. Followed them to an auto parts store and bought the necessary parts along with a little extra oil and coolant. Then went to a Walmart and picked up an ice chest that I loaded with snacks, drinks and a case of water. Then I gave her $200 for gas.

    Two days later her dad called me and thanked me for saving his daughter. That was in 2002. Her father calls me every Thanksgiving and we chat. She is on to a new and happy life.

    Ubi Ignis Est?
    Posted 1 week ago #
  13. cosmicfolklore

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    Awesome, Ash!!! You did good!

    Posted 1 week ago #
  14. georgebmcclelland

    georgebmcclelland

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    In 1984 I was a newly married guy full of hope, optimism and ignorance. Life hadn't taught me hard lessons. One day while my wife and I were driving back to our humble apartment we saw a panhandler with a sign decrying his desperation, so we went to our apartment and loaded up some leftover chicken and stuff (sign said "hungry") and drove back to where he was. We offered him the food and some beverages. He threw the food in his car and then said that he preferred cash. The next day I drove past that intersection and there he was.

    I do not give anything to panhandlers. I make my donations to established organizations to do what they do.

    Having said that. I was driving into Vegas one day and there was a woman with two small children broken down by the side of the road. It turns out they were fleeing an abusive relationship in Idaho and were trying to get Southern California where her parents lived. I got the car going good enough to get them to Vegas. Followed them to an auto parts store and bought the necessary parts along with a little extra oil and coolant. Then went to a Walmart and picked up an ice chest that I loaded with snacks, drinks and a case of water. Then I gave her $200 for gas.

    Two days later her dad called me and thanked me for saving his daughter. That was in 2002. Her father calls me every Thanksgiving and we chat. She is on to a new and happy life.

    This is an amazing story, which shows both sides of the coin perfectly. Good for you, man!

    Posted 1 week ago #
  15. tbradsim1

    tbradsim1

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    Tim you done good, for every story like ash’s there’s so many more of scammers. When I had to hotshot after retiring , losing my money to sharks in a suit I was coming back from Oklahoma and just out of Houston , Winnie Texas I stopped for supper. I was approached by an older fellow useing a crutch and teenager asking for a handout, I said sorry I need one myself and went in the diner. I sat at the front window where I could observe my truck, panhandler with the crutch was there in parking lot. Finishing they crutched off, getting by the I-10 overpass crutch man puts crutch on shoulder and walks normal under the overpass. He really needed to be beat with the crutch.

    The Old Cajun
    Posted 1 week ago #
  16. mso489

    mso489

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    Sensitive point but worth mentioning, some con artists like to attend church services, where people are focussed on their better selves and generosity, and put the arm on congregants before or after the services. These folks should be referred to the pastor/priest/rabbi/etc., who is usually trained to evaluate requests for help, and often has a fund for helping in legit situations.

    Posted 1 week ago #
  17. ashdigger

    ashdigger

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    Brad, that guy definitely needed beaten with that crutch. Severely enough to need said crutch.

    Posted 1 week ago #
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    aldecaker

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    "...some con artists like to attend church services..."

    MSO, I think you mis-spelled "conduct".

    Anyway, on a more serious note, those package thieves. What this world needs is a really good jack-in-the-box full of dog crap.

    A man who serves his country is a patriot. A man who serves his government is an employee. The two are not always the same thing.
    Posted 1 week ago #
  19. mso489

    mso489

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    It's an urban legend, but I like the yarn about the woman who was taking a full stool sample in an otherwise empty purse to her doctor and a thief ran by and grabbed the bag. Instant justice.

    Posted 1 week ago #
  20. mikethompson

    mikethompson

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    Ash, that is a great story!

    There was a scam here a few years back that would involve two guys and Christmas time. While you were loading your stuff into your trunk, Man 1 would throw some Gatorade on the ground by your engine. He would call your attention to it, saying it was coolant. As you were distracted, Man 2 would take your stuff out of your trunk and take off.

    Posted 1 week ago #
  21. weezell

    weezell

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    MSO, I think you mis-spelled "conduct".
    Yes, hit it on the head there!Bunch of them out there...

    "The weez..."
    Posted 1 week ago #
  22. mso489

    mso489

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    Sadly, it is a good time of year to be wary. If you will ever lock your house, and lock your car both at home and shopping, now's a good time. If you can put purchases out of sight when you leave them in the car, that's smart. Bring in delivered packages from the porch regularly. Put your wallet in a front trousers pocket in a crowd, etc. I don't think you have to be crazy-paranoid, just wary.

    Posted 1 week ago #
  23. brian64

    brian64

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    I do not give anything to panhandlers. I make my donations to established organizations to do what they do.

    Unfortunately, there are a number of established organizations with a track record that shows them to be no better than most panhandlers...especially some of the largest ones. But they've got really great PR campaigns.

    Having said that. I was driving into Vegas one day and there was a woman with two small children broken down by the side of the road. It turns out they were fleeing an abusive relationship in Idaho and were trying to get Southern California where her parents lived. I got the car going good enough to get them to Vegas. Followed them to an auto parts store and bought the necessary parts along with a little extra oil and coolant. Then went to a Walmart and picked up an ice chest that I loaded with snacks, drinks and a case of water. Then I gave her $200 for gas.

    Two days later her dad called me and thanked me for saving his daughter. That was in 2002. Her father calls me every Thanksgiving and we chat. She is on to a new and happy life.

    That is a truly wonderful story.

    “Bipartisan usually means some larger-than-usual deception is being carried out.” – George Carlin
    Posted 1 week ago #
  24. blackadderlxx

    blackadderlxx

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    Sensitive point but worth mentioning, some con artists like to attend church services, where people are focussed on their better selves and generosity, and put the arm on congregants before or after the services. These folks should be referred to the pastor/priest/rabbi/etc., who is usually trained to evaluate requests for help, and often has a fund for helping in legit situations.

    This is very true. The pastors normally can sort it quickly though.

    Posted 1 week ago #

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