Some major charity scams exposed.

This is long. And probably most of you don’t really care about exactly what I say here. So, do save you some time, I’m just saying that in my opinion, beggars and charities are often scams.

Here is a link reinforcing my opinion:

http://www.tampabay.com/topics/specials/worst-charities.page

If you want, here is some more information on charities and helping others. Obviously I do not know how accurate that link that I gave you is. But, it does seem to come from relatively reputable sources. At least in my opinion. You decide.

Janet’s dad was very good friends with the manager of an organization that helped blind people in Seattle. I think it was “Lighthouse for the Blind”, but I’m not certain of the name.

In those days there were people selling lightbulbs, that had much longer life than usual and they claimed that they were doing this to raise money for the organization. Let’s assume that it was “Lighthouse for the Blind”.

Janet’s dad had recently been approached again by the lightbulb people, and he was visiting his friend, and happen to think to ask him, “How much of the money that I pay for those lightbulbs, do you get?”

I’m also not sure of the exact answer, but it was like 1%. Perhaps less. Janet’s dad was astounded. He asked why they allowed this company to use their name as an advertising gimmick.

The answer was because if we didn’t we wouldn’t get anything from them. At least this way we get a tiny bit of money. And we need all the money we can get.

By the way, with today’s technology, don’t even think about buying one of those long life lightbulbs. Not all are what they say they are. And even if they are they sacrifice efficiency in order to get that long life. That is they make very little light from the electricity that they consume.

Now days, these LED lights last dramatically longer than even the best long life incandescent bulb. And they use a tiny fraction of the electricity that even the best, most efficient, incandescent bulb would use. They are certainly not cheap. But, with competition, some companies are much less expensive for a very similar LED bulb. It really pays to shop around.

Back to begging and charities. In a similar vein we lived for about 5 1/2 years in Mexico. I don’t know Mexico today, but at the time begging was a profession. We were told, and I believe that, while certainly some beggars, were exactly what they seemed. People who were down on their luck, and really needed some help. However, we were told that the vast majority of them were professionals. They would maim and disfigure their children so that they big came more profitable at begging. Because they could look so pitiful. I truly believe the story that there were amputations made, in order to be more profitable beggars.

You may certainly believe that this is a vicious rumor. And I really hope that you are correct. But in my mind, I’m absolutely certain that it is true. I think it applies to a large percentage of the people that you see begging. I am also told, and believe, that this is the same in many parts of the world.

In a similar vein, a good friend was walking through the University District in Seattle in about 1970 and the parking meters use quarters. ($0.25) And in those days a $.50 piece was still a common American coin. I’ve not seen one for a zillion years now.

And so, it was common for people to not have a quarter, and need to get change for their $.50 piece in order to pay the meter.

My friend noticed an attractive college-age woman, and just in front of him ask a stranger, “Do you have two quarters?”

The person did and handed them to her.

She gave a very nice smile. Said, “Thank you very much.” And walked away.

That was a lot more money in those days, but the victim did not want to make a federal case out of it and let it go.

My friend slowed down a little and very casually followed the young lady for several blocks. Her plan usually worked. She was making a very nice wage with this scam. Far more than my friend made running his own pharmacy.

We also saw a large number of beggars and Baltimore. 90% of them started out with, “Are you from around here?” We would answer no. And they would then say that they had some kind of believable problem. That they were not a beggar. That they just needed some exact amount of money to solve their problem. For example they needed to buy a fuel pump for their car, so that they get get home to their wife and children, or drive to their job. Their fuel pump had just broken and a rebuilt fuel pump cost $14.75. All they had on them was $10.25. Could we please give them $4.50, and our name and address. And they would mail us a $5 bill that evening.

The 1st 10 times or so that I ran into this, I was suspicious. But I’ve been in bad times occasionally and wanted to help genuine people if I could. But, every single time, when I started asking them questions about their situation, they fairly quickly decided that I was not worth the trouble. They would make some excuse and walk away to find a different pigeon.

I also believe that beggars beg only because it works. In Mexico the tourist department, had numerous signs saying, “Please do not give money to beggars. The government has opportunities that people truly in need can use to survive. Anyone that you see begging is a con man (or woman or child).”

For those reasons, I just do not give money to beggars. I also did not give money to charities. In about 1970 there was a big scandal of one of the large charities in America. A very popular charity. That had been shown to have been a scam. Well, the following link is the latest in that list of scams.

http://www.tampabay.com/topics/specials/worst-charities.page

Do your homework and decide for yourself. But at least give it some serious thought.

However, I am definitely not saying do not help others. Personally, I give the money directly to the victim. Or as close to that as I can.

Often there does not have to be any money involved. You can give the person a ride. One time in Mexico a man needed a new saw. Actually, because he’d used the saw that he had in a really insane manner, and it was totally his fault. I tried to show him how to avoid having that problem in the future.

Since we were on the boat and I had my tools with me and some spare time, I sharpened his saw for him. It is often better to not throw money at a situation. But to show the person how they could of solve their own problem.

Like the old thing about don’t give a man a fish, but teach him how to fish. I guess the vegetarians would teach them how to grow Pinto beans.

Have a great day,

Dave

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