Giving at the Door


The doorbell rings and this time there’s no orange vest, no sales, no asphalt.  Someone is straight up asking you for money.  You say no, right?  But hold on.  It’s not just for them.  Oh no.  It’s for the starving children (look, photos!) or the Red Cross (well, there was that awful hurricane). 

Prefer something closer to home?  Okay, it’s for the church down the road.  Did I say church?  I meant high school hockey team.  They need new uniforms.

Because she’s appealing to your good nature, the peddler this time is probably someone a little more sympathetic.  A woman, maybe even a teenager.  She’s peppy, smiling, looks harmless.  She tells a good story.  And no doubt there are a million needy causes in your neighborhood and around the world, but guess what?  They don’t come knocking on your door for funds.  If they did, there would be no need for car washes on corners or personalized mailing labels from the food bank. 

Door-to-door charity scammers can be creative in their storytelling and very convincing.  To be successful, they need to be able to talk the talk.  In one case, a group of young people went door-to-door in a neighborhood soliciting money for a college orchestra trip to London.  Victims reported that the individuals were engaging and well-prepared, with written materials that looked legitimate, so they willingly wrote out checks.  In another case, a man collected checks that he claimed would help military veterans and their families.  The man, himself a veteran, then altered the checks and cashed them.

Sometimes the cons are straightforward and simple.  A team goes door-to-door taking orders for sandwiches to benefit a local church.  The sandwiches are $5 a piece.  The imaginary sandwiches, that is, because they never arrive.  In the meantime the church is receiving calls asking what the money will be used for.  True story.

“For of all hard things to bear and grin,
The hardest is knowing you’re taken in.”
PHOEBE CARY

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