Watch for panhandling scams during the holidays

Local News

JOPLIN, Mo. — Being in the middle of the holiday season, you might want to give to those in need. However, when you give your money to someone you think is homeless at an intersection, there’s no way to know what it’ll be used for.

Diana Gurley, Souls Harbor Exec. Director, said, “In the city of Joplin, we have so many resources, there’s not any necessity to give them money, you can take them to one of the places to help them get the help they need.”

It’s natural to feel the need to give around the holidays, if only just a little bit, but there are people who may try to take advantage of you. While you may intend to give money to someone on the side of the road, that person could be scamming you.

Cpt. William Davis, Joplin Police, said, “So panhandling is basically people who are standing at the street corner or at the intersections, and their soliciting money from the general public.”

In the end, you don’t know where the donation is going. What you need to do is just change where the donation is given.

“If you’re gonna give, there are charities out there that you can research, they’re well established, they go to great cause, so you can know where your money is going if you’re giving to those particular charities, whereas you may not if you give to someone at an intersection.”

This helps create a situation where those who are in need can get the assistance they’re looking for.

“You should try to guide them to where they can get the help that they need, that’s what you should do, because first of all that’s a lasting situation where with the money, that’s a fix for the moment, it’s a nice little band-aid, but it doesn’t solve the problem,” said Gurley.

And you know you’re gifts are actually going somewhere you intend them to.

“Whether it be for clothing or food items, things of that sort, so there are things other than just monetary donations that you can make to charities that will have a big impact,” said Davis.

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