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-   -   Homeless man and couple allegedly made up story for GoFundMe get rich quick scheme (http://message.snopes.com/showthread.php?t=97135)

ASL 15 November 2018 04:45 PM

Homeless man and couple allegedly made up story for GoFundMe get rich quick scheme
 
Homeless man and couple allegedly made up story for GoFundMe get rich quick scheme

Quote:

MT. HOLLY, New Jersey -- A story about a homeless man who spent his last $20 for a woman stranded when her car ran out of gas seemed too good to be true. Now a report suggests it was all a get rich quick scam.
To recap, the story began as something like "homeless veteran gives $20 to woman who runs out of gas." Then it went to "GoFundMe setup for homeless hero, raises $400K." Next was "Couple accused of stealing money from homeless hero." And now here we are.

This ongoing story has nearly resulted in a "what pisses me off" post at every stage of its development because it plays on a number of stereotypes, including "all homeless people are veterans," "all veterans who are homeless must be so because of their service," "all veterans are heroes," and of course "all veterans have PTSD, which makes them homeless."

It turns out, surprise, surprise, the guy in this story was a veteran, but he got booted out with a Bad Conduct Discharge (meaning he was court-martialed) for drug use after only a year. He never deployed, not once, so it's not like he was self-medicating as a result of combat trauma. And yet people buy into this crap about "homeless veteran = hero = PTSD = homeless" and dump all kinds of money into it. I was pissed even before I knew it was a scam. I was kind of like "go figure" when it turned out the couple was holding back on the money. Now I'm just kind of like... :rolleyes:

Seriously, people, who in the hell, in this day and age, in a major city, with credit cards and all, runs out of gas (like it's a total surprise they were running low as they went out for groceries?) and magically doesn't have a credit card on them? We're not talking some elderly man or woman who hasn't adjusted to a cashless society and the digital age, we're talking a city-dwelling millennial.

I hate scammers, but I almost hate people who fall for feel-good stories that play off stereotypes about veterans more. Almost. I could almost just shrug this off, except all that "feel good" money could have actually gone to veterans who actually deployed, actually suffered combat-related trauma, or at least aren't the sole source of their own problems. Or, heck, since drug addiction is a legit problem, it could have gone to people who are actually trying to get better, like, to fund rehab or something. Or, because it's not all about veterans, it could have gone to any number of legit charities for any number of causes. The intended recipient of these funds was ALWAYS unworthy. Even if he really was a combat vet, and really was homeless due to service-related difficulties, it would have been so much better to have that money go to a charity that would have helped not only him, but others too.

I hate hate HATE feel good stories.

Maybe I should have posted this in rantidote...

musicgeek 15 November 2018 06:48 PM

Yeah, this story was fishy from the get-go. And I understand your frustration about the various stereotypes at play.

crocoduck_hunter 15 November 2018 07:38 PM

This reminds me of a story from a few years ago about a homeless man who allegedly received $100 dollars from something or other and then spent it all on charity. It was all over the news for about a week or two, and then someone who knew the guy stepped forward and said "hey, he's not even homeless" and whoops, suddenly nobody was talking about it.

Seaboe Muffinchucker 15 November 2018 07:41 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by ASL (Post 1991574)
Seriously, people, who in the hell, in this day and age, in a major city, with credit cards and all, runs out of gas (like it's a total surprise they were running low as they went out for groceries?) and magically doesn't have a credit card on them?

A woman driving an unfamiliar car who rushed out of the house without her purse.
A woman driving a junker with a broken gas gauge who was planning to buy groceries with food stamps.

I understand your frustration with the scam, and the stereotypes being thrown at Veterans, but if I can think of two scenarios in less than five minutes (it took longer to type them up than to think of them), there are probably others.

Seaboe

thorny locust 15 November 2018 08:44 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Seaboe Muffinchucker (Post 1991584)
I understand your frustration with the scam, and the stereotypes being thrown at Veterans, but if I can think of two scenarios in less than five minutes (it took longer to type them up than to think of them), there are probably others.

Ditto.

Here's another: somebody whose credit card is maxed out (possibly by an unexpected medical bill), or so close to it that they're afraid to use it for gas in case the extra hold the gas station puts on it puts them over the line, thereby causing their already sky high interest rate to shoot into the stratosphere.

There are people living that close to the line. And there actually are people who don't have credit cards.

Beachlife! 15 November 2018 09:08 PM

I don't know I was thinking more on the lines of why not borrow a cell phone and call your husband or a friend. Or why not use only what you need of the $20 and then drive somewhere to get the money you would have paid for gas to pay him back.

I can believe parts of the story, but put them all together and it doesn't make sense.

ASL 15 November 2018 09:09 PM

Seaboe/TL: Sure, and that woman, pushing a cart around the grocery store, who realizes too late that she only has enough money for the bus fare home, and oh no! she has a little girl with diabetes waiting for her and she’s due for her insulin shot and the doctor says she needs to take her shot with food and she just needs some help paying for her groceries, and oh my gosh the Jamestown bus is leaving soon. Did I mention they’re all out of food back home?

Put another way, I am sure there are people who run out of gas unexpectedly in a major city and can’t pay. But if it sounds like glurge, it probably is.

Seaboe Muffinchucker 15 November 2018 11:30 PM

Yes, I definitely agree that if it sounds like glurge and looks like glurge, it's probably glurge. But your original comment about not having a credit card read more like you thought the idea of someone not having a credit card on them was bunk.

I never thought this sounded kosher--but then, I don't think most personal GoFundMe pleas are kosher.

Seaboe

Dasla 17 November 2018 08:16 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Seaboe Muffinchucker (Post 1991610)
But your original comment about not having a credit card read more like you thought the idea of someone not having a credit card on them was bunk.


Seaboe

I don't have a credit card, I have never had a credit card. Well actually I did once. I rang the bank for another reason and they asked if I would like one. I thought I would get one for emergencies. I never used it and they wrote to me and asked if I would like to cancel it. I did. This was when I was in a much better financial situation then I am now. I manage pretty well. Don't see how having another card in my wallet would help the situation in any way.

I once went out without my wallet. usually my wallet lives in my backpack but I do take it out when paying bills on-line or for other reasons. I forgot to put it back.

Yes the story is glurge but


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