The “Pay it Forward” movement that is sweeping across the country has people wanting to do good for others. There’s no better feeling in the world than to give to someone who is less fortunate.
While most people love to give to those in need, there are those people who panhandle as a method of income. We’ve all heard the stories of someone who struck gold by hitting the streets of the local city and begging. The problem is that there are people who are truly in need. How do we know if the people are true and those that are fake? Here are some clues to help you recognize the real homeless from the importers.
1. Their Gratitude or Attitude
One thing that helps to see if a person is truly in need is their attitude. While many people are leery of giving money, offer to buy them a sandwich or something to drink. If they refuse the food, then they must not be in need. Many alcoholics and drug dealers find that begging is one of the best ways to get the money they need for their next fix. Anyone that is truly down on their luck will gladly take any food that is offered to them, even if they just ate.
2. Their Appearance
If someone is homeless, you don’t expect them to be sitting there in nice clothes. Look for things that might tip you off that they are faking. Things like piercings, nice clothes, and even tennis shoes can be an indication of a fake. However, that doesn’t mean that people haven’t donated to them either. If they are a homeless person, they probably will need a good bath and may have an odor to prove it.
3. Observe the Surroundings
If the person is running a scam, they could be part of a larger group in operation. They may have a cell phone on them, or they may have a car parked close by for a quick getaway. Look for any abandoned cars or a bike close to them.
4. You See the Same Person Over and Over
People who panhandle on a daily basis are often habitual and play off the sympathy of others. If you see the same person time after time on your city streets; it’s possible that they are doing it as a job not out of need.
When all else fails, go with your gut instinct. Though it is often hard to spot those who are fake from those who are telling the truth, it’s still more blessed to give to those in need than to error on the side of caution and cause someone to be without. The act of kindness will bring you good karma, and if they are lying then their karma won’t be as positive.