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View Diary: How to run a cash grab scam on Dailykos (342 comments)

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  •  I agree with point, not with substance (8+ / 0-)

    I fully agree that Daily Kos has established itself as a ripe target for any decent writer with enough time to cultivate a well-liked persona and then leverage that to collect free money with a hard-luck story. The great part is people will then rush to defend anyone who questions the beggar's vulnerability; they have to, because they cannot allow themselves to believe they are capable of being suckered by a scam artist. You will have as much success changing their minds as you would changing a birther's mind. There are also those who commit themselves to believing the best about everyone. I think they eventually become the little old men and women who give money to door-to-door handymen or driveway pavers or aluminum siders and get shoddy work in return.

    I agree fully with your message. The perspective that someone's tenure and level of activity vouched for their trustworthiness is naive. As the news proves, people will scam people they have known for years, pretending to have cancer or a sick child to scam money.

    People will also invest a lot of time and money into scams. Everyone in Manti T'eo's family had vouched for the existence of his "girlfriend," whom he had conversed with daily for months before "dying" of cancer. It does not appear the scanners ever asked for money, but it sounds like they could have gotten some if the college ball player had had any to give.

    Long cons are not unheard of; people fleece men and women on the Internet all the time. I saw a story on 20/20 once about a group of people who preyed on lonely middle-aged single men and women and convinced them to let them have goods shipped to their homes that were fraudulently purchased with other people's credit cards, and they would then collect them (the lonely hearts were not aware the goods were stolen and some thought of the scammers as their fiancé or girlfriend/boyfriend).

    So I fully agree with the point you are making. A fool and his money are easily parted. The problem is how you went about making the point. You do not know the diarist whom you blatantly intimate (don't pretend otherwise, we're not all easily fooled) was being untruthful, but the way your diary was written all but accuses him by name of being so. Without evidence, that is not a fair insinuation.

    I do not give money as a rule to anyone here (although years and years ago, I once privately sent someone who lost his job Christmas gifts for his kids who never asked for them). I do this because I have no way of telling whether someone is legitimate, and I am not willing to give the benefit of the doubt. I do not because often these people are in such dire straights that they are back in a month or two asking for more --giving the money does not solve the problem. I would rather give my money to organizations vested in solving the problem so people won't need to come to Kos to beg for band-aids when they appear to be hemmhoraging.

    I wish Markos would ban the begging diaries or start a charity with a group tasked to vet the requests and people making them. We could then give our money to the Kos charity group with a lot less risk and a lot more usefulness.

    I remember someone raising money for an expensive headstone bench for someone who had lost a child or grandchild, and I remember thinking such a thing might be nice but is it really a better use of more than a thousand dollars in donations than helping someone fix a broken vehicle so they can get to their job or helping them with a medical bill? Some people give money because it makes them feel good about themselves, as Adam B said, but it might be better to give because we believe we can make a genuine difference in helping someone get back on track.

    We Won't Let Republicans Replace Medicare with GOP Vouchercare!

    by CatM on Sat Feb 09, 2013 at 05:36:57 AM PST

    •  Rec'd, though I happen to disagree with (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      CatM, Wendy Slammo, VetGrl

      your specific point re the bench, which seemed to be a gift in an outpouring of sympathy for a known friend, not a need-based stranger plea or a decision subject to "where should my charity dollars go?" analysis. A small point, though.

      •  I am guessing it did not come across that way (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Villanova Rhodes

        to me because I did not know that person, and I thought it was that the family could not afford a headstone. I fully understand wanting to help someone by a headstone for a beloved child and have no criticism of that at all. It just seemed like an elaborate one (though I am no expert in headstones) and because I did not know that person, I  thought it would just seem more useful to help someone with a more basic need. But it is not like I prioritize my money very well, anyway. And again, I could never fault a family for wanting to have a marker for their child's resting place. Prioritizing how to help people is so difficult.

        We Won't Let Republicans Replace Medicare with GOP Vouchercare!

        by CatM on Sat Feb 09, 2013 at 12:51:32 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

        •  cat, this is the problem i see here with this (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          aitchdee

          debate...

          I am guessing it did not come across that way to me because I did not know that person,
          because we do NOT "know" the person does not mean their pain is not legitimate.  and the harm words can do is brutal.  abuse isn't just physical.

          it takes courage to ask for help in dire situations, especially when most people are told they need to take care of themselves/their own families/etc. and to not do so means they  "failed".

          in this economy - in this depression (and, yes, in spite of the label not being official, it IS a depression) - people are hurting deeply, both emotionally and financially.

          i've read some comments where folks have said they are made uncomfortable - and i understand that.  the reaction is the quiet unspoken or unacknowledged feeling that the persons in crisis could very well be them.  all of us are struggling to pay bills, take care of the basics, protect what we have in case of that "crisis" - SOME of us have already used up those reserves (if they ever had them) and are back against the wall and are scared, too.

          how we respond to one another in these difficult times defines us.

          isn't it better to choose one another than to accuse or question or deny?  so what if we are wrong?  what do we lose?  our "graciousness"?  our "goodness"?  our "money?"  i suggest we lose nothing by offering help to another - instead we gain much more - we gain community - we gain humanity.

          just some thoughts for a late saturday afternoon...

          EdriesShop Is it kind? is it true? is it necessary?

          by edrie on Sat Feb 09, 2013 at 06:34:39 PM PST

          [ Parent ]

          •  I do not agree with you. (1+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            Villanova Rhodes

            Sorry, but I do not agree that we should just blindly help whomever asks without asking questions and not worry if the appeal turns out to be false. Resources are limited and too many are in genuine need of help to risk giving one's resources to someone whose motives are less than pure. Further, if and when that person is caught, it casts doubt on future requests.

            For some reason, this situation made me think of Eva Peron. She started a government run foundation where she would pick from among wishes submitted by the less fortunate and "fulfill" them. It made for great feel-good stories but did nothing to alleviate the crushing poverty so many were struggling with.

            That is not to say we should never help someone in need, but I want to know who I am helping if it is being done on an individual basis because I do know people in real life who need help, and I have no wish to give money to someone who could be lying when I could help someone I know needs it or help an organization like a battered woman's shelter or the Human Society or a food bank that helps many.

            I also do believe in encouraging people to look at these claims with a skeptical eye. There are far too many scammers and dishonest people to naively believe whatever is read, and I do wish Markos did not allow these diaries on the site not because they make me uncomfortable because I do not want to see the ugliness of real life but because I think it is unlikely all are legitimate (as some were shown not to be) and because certain situations are indeed presenting one side, like involving people in a child custody issue, and I do not think that is appropriate.

            We Won't Let Republicans Replace Medicare with GOP Vouchercare!

            by CatM on Sat Feb 09, 2013 at 09:31:56 PM PST

            [ Parent ]

            •  no one has advocated "blindly" doing anything. (1+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              aitchdee

              my point is that while one person chooses to help another may not.

              limited resources are not site common resources and EACH member is free to do with their own resources what that member chooses.  that should neither be mandated nor restricted by "site rules".

              your analogy using peron is not accurate.  this SITE doesn't "choose as an entity" - individual members choose.  that you require more information than another is your own criteria.  

              we are not out to save the world as a group - but as individuals, we can independently decide how and where to spend our own funds.  what i find troubling here is some who feel that i should not aid someone because THEIR comfort level isn't reached!

              if i were demanding you spend YOUR money, i could understand better your objections.  i am not.  so, why are you bothered by how i choose to spend MY money?

              you have assumed that people who donate have not looked with a "critical eye" - that is not accurate.  we have just come to a different conclusion than the one you reached.

              it matters not who is right or wrong if I am comfortable with my own decision and you are yours.  that you are uncomfortable how others spend their own money and you want to prevent them from making that choice is what is wrong.  that, to me, what is inappropriate.

              we each pick how we want to spend what we have earned.  unless someone else is funding me, it is still my choice.  i realize some people are uncomfortable with these requests.  to those people, my response is - don't click on this type of diary.  some of us are not - and that is each of our choices to make.

              EdriesShop Is it kind? is it true? is it necessary?

              by edrie on Sat Feb 09, 2013 at 11:16:14 PM PST

              [ Parent ]

              •  You certainly did imply to give blindly (2+ / 0-)
                Recommended by:
                Villanova Rhodes, jeff in nyc

                I suggest you re-read your last two paragraphs of the previous post. I would cut and paste it here for your convenience, but oddly none of my mobile devices allow me to do so.

                You also implied everyone should make the same decision you do. I disagree.

                Not allowing begging diaries on the site does not stop you from donating to people in need unless Daily Kos is the only place you know how to find them, in which case the purpose of this site back from when I joined has really gone far afield. I do not care what risks you take with your money. I do care about having the site rec list cluttered with diaries of people asking for money instead of what the site was designed for. I care about the site's integrity, and being caught up in fraud or on the wrong side of a child custody dispute would not be good for it. And I do not want Daily Kos to turn into a magnet for every would-be-scammer when word gets out how easy it is to part those liberals and their money.

                And just as you are exercising your right here to defend those diaries, I am exercising mine to agree with those who advocate caution and to inform site management that I and some others do not believe it is appropriate for them to be here. I will continue doing so. I do not jump in those diaries and piss all over them. I do read them on occasion, because it is not always clear from the title that it is a diary begging for money. Sometimes people post about problems they are having or a need for help that does not involve money.

                I did post in one to defend someone being unjustly harangued for suggesting people use caution in a child custody dispute, which was a smart thing to say. Other than that, I don't say anything about them except in a diary like this, which is not about them.

                For someone who does not want to have what you do questioned, you have spent a lot of time in this thread telling others what they should do or think and what makes a good person. I do not agree with you, I do not find your attitude appealing, and I am not interested in talking with you further because I have Asperger's and I will inevitably cross the pie-fighting threshold I have been working hard not to cross for the past few years.

                I am not here to make friends on the Internet or belong to a community. I am here because I learn about news stories I might otherwise never come across, I hear a diverse array of views and knowledge, which helps me as an Aspie with a limited social circle to know what others are thinking, and because I support Markos' political goal. And I have been here for a very long time! So I am not likely to go away. (Though if I do, I guarantee I won't be making any announcement.)

                So, in the future, if you see my name attached to a comment in a diary decrying the begging on Daily Kos, rest assured, I will be expressing a lot of agreement with it, and if you don't like those kinds of comments, you could simply not click, which I believe was your advice for me regarding the begging diaries (though I would point out that you had to know by the title you would not like this diary, yet you clicked on it and felt the need to give your two cents to just about everyone who supported the general tenant of the diary, if not the way it was presented, which was badly.)

                We Won't Let Republicans Replace Medicare with GOP Vouchercare!

                by CatM on Sun Feb 10, 2013 at 08:50:08 AM PST

                [ Parent ]

                •  you have obviously not understood anything i (1+ / 0-)
                  Recommended by:
                  aitchdee

                  posted.

                  we are done here.  no point in continuing further.  i wish you well and hope beyond hope your life is always in a good place.

                  peace.

                  EdriesShop Is it kind? is it true? is it necessary?

                  by edrie on Sun Feb 10, 2013 at 02:36:24 PM PST

                  [ Parent ]

                  •  edrie, I can only assume you have no idea (2+ / 0-)
                    Recommended by:
                    CatM, Demeter Rising

                    how insulting many of your comments have been, because I can tell from your repeated references to your own good works that you value your image as a nice and kind person. In the guise of criticizing a diary that (we agree, unkindly) skewers someone else, you have repeatedly insulted everyone who disagrees with your view on the issue of personal fundraisers on the site. You may say no offense is intended; speaking only for myself, offense is very much taken.

                    CatM is exercising restraint, so allow me:

                    I think both CatM and I understand you perfectly. You think you are good and we are bad. That your definition of compassion is the only valid one. That those who differ with you are cold, hard, callous, cynical, paranoid, and uncaring (yes, you have used every one of those slurs and more). And you think that anyone who has ever truly suffered as you have would agree with you. You are wrong.

                    You are correct, though, that it is pointless to continue. I look forward to better interactions elsewhere.

                    •  you REALLY don't understand me or anything i (0+ / 0-)

                      said.  that is a pity, really.

                      and, fyi, i used to be one nasty, sarcastic, snide, smug bitch.  that i am working not to be so is not a negative.  that i use my own experiences as examples are simply that: my OWN experiences.  not yours nor any one elses.  if they serve to explain my point of view, fine.  if some choose to demean or discredit them, also, so be it.

                      you really have no idea how sharp my tongue or actions can be.  there are quite a few out there who could enlighten you.  that i try to employ reason here has absolutely NOTHING to do with my "image" or what other people think of me.  frankly, i don't care what others think of me - it is what i think of myself that matters.

                      i show restraint when commenting because i do not find it enjoyable evicerating others, and, believe me, i can and still will, if necessary.  on THIS blog, however, i try to use reason - and when that fails, i walk away.

                      good day, sir.

                      EdriesShop Is it kind? is it true? is it necessary?

                      by edrie on Sun Feb 10, 2013 at 09:01:43 PM PST

                      [ Parent ]

                    •  Thank you (1+ / 0-)
                      Recommended by:
                      Villanova Rhodes

                      for saying so precisely what I was thinking and saying it much better than I could.

                      We Won't Let Republicans Replace Medicare with GOP Vouchercare!

                      by CatM on Sun Feb 10, 2013 at 09:37:18 PM PST

                      [ Parent ]

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