- Always ask for proof of what they are claiming - some sob stories are so far out there - typically the scammer will do one of two things when asked for proof - either give reasons WHY no proof can be given and those will be out there as well OR they will stop talking...... Some will lash out do not take it personal when they do that!!!!!
- If it is a bill that needs paid - remember pictures can be stolen online and manipulated. use tineye do a search on their image OR ask if you can CALL their utility company and make the payment direct to them. NEVER fall for those super high bills EVER. I know folks with good hearts WANT to help those with $1200 electric bills - but THINK before you send!!!! Does this person get any state aid or disability or unemployment etc? Are other adults with incomes living in the house? Has this person gone to all the LOCAL places that help pay bills? I can provide a list of places shortly - I will put it in the album section and others can add their local resource list there as well. A person with a bill that high is also doing 1 of 2 things or both - 1. spending on unnecessary shit (eating out, online games who knows, sometimes drugs) and not even attempting to pay anything AND / OR 2. running literally everything in their house all the time - THINK before you send on these super high bills!!!!! AND ALWAYS ask to see the payment history on the account for the last 6 months BEFORE sending!!!!
- AVOID the usual suspects all together!!!! They scam all year long and honestly, try to give to someone who actually needs it.
- If someone needs FOOD or other such items - do a site to store, instacart etc rather than sending cash. I am sure a recipient who NEEDS the food will work with you on the items to order!!! AND be so grateful for it!!!! AND keeping your receipt makes it a tax deductible item - a certain amount can be deducted for helping the needy if you have your receipts!!!!
- NEVER send money for hotels UNLESS you send it directly TO the hotel!!!! EVER!!!
- Please do not fall for the song and dance of "I have nothing to do anything for my kids for Christmas" - they might even guilt trip saying they cannot even afford a tree...... Christmas happens the same time EVERY year and people have 11 months to prepare for it. YES it has been a helluva year for sure..... We are ALL going to have a low budget holiday this year - do NOT let a sob story put YOU out trying to help those who only planned on having someone else foot their holiday bill.
- Rule of thumb in sending money to people online during this season --- VERIFY EVERYTHING before sending