Today, August 6, 2010, in Savannah, GA, a local homeless shelter was visited by a girl representing someone who had called a Case Manager yesterday seeking to recruit workers to supposedly help move a house.
The previous night the guys were in their homeless shelter, getting ready for bed & bed check was being conducted. As requested, a list of up to 10 potential workers was developed from those who were available for the described work.
This morning, there were delays in the expected arrival of the person or persons who were going to take the volunteer workers to the “house”. They had been told to expect $10 per hour for about 6 hours of work. These recruited “workers” were expecting to receive some income to in fact pay their expenses at the homeless shelter – that’s another story for another day…
Well a girl finally showed up in a silver late model Toyota Camry with Florida plates. She entered the premises & acted appropriately for the task at hand.
The organizer of the group of 10 workers (homeless guys expecting the kindness of a donation for their services from someone who was in need of their services, supposedly recognized a need & was fulfilling it by helping these guys out) was asked to setup groups of 4 workers because of transportation needs. The first group of 4 was selected & sent out with the young girl who was dressed very well.
On the way to the “house” they were told that they weren’t going to be moving a house but rather “phones”. The original 4 guys listened intently. When they arrived at their “destination” (a Walmart parking lot on Montgomery Crossroads, the Sandfly area of Savannah) they were told to go see a pair of people at the entrance.
There they were told a procedure to follow – they were told they would be expected to go inside the Walmart to the phone sales area & would be escorted in by one of these other people who would tell them which phones to “buy”.
When they were to go to the “register” to a specific clerk there would take their photo IDs (the organizers were asked the day before to make sure the guys recruited had picture IDs) & Social Security numbers & go thru the “activation” process.
Supposedly they would not have to actually “pay” anything for the phones, their credit would be checked & whatever phones they selected would then be given to them with the impending billing for deposit & fees for the phones.
They were then to take the “acquired” phones outside where they would be paid $50 for their “services”.
It is admitted that this is all speculation on the ending of the process but it was explained this way.
It is also “assumed” that the clerk was in on this process.
It is also deeply felt by the four guys who got in their car at the shelter in the morning that this was an attempted SCAM on these guys & the homeless shelter they are staying at.
The guys proceeded to not get involved in what they felt was a SCAM. Their encounter stopped at the entrance to Walmart & they proceeded to the CAT Bus Stop, caught a bus back in town & called the shelter on the way back to inform them of the SCAM they had been asked to participate in.
When they arrived back at the shelter, the staff proceeded to gather them together & develop the facts. The Police were called & an officer arrived soon at the facility to take a report.
The real shame in all this comes from the fact that it was initially felt by the officer that NO CRIME HAD BEEN COMMITTED!
It is understandable to some degree as he explained it.
However, there are some bad things going on here as well as a few (4) GOOD THINGS.
The bad is that they (the perpetrators of the events) seemingly have gotten away with it.
Hopefully, Walmart Loss Prevention was notified & then with the times that the guys were at Walmart, being given to the police, they were able to look at video surveillance footage & develop the profiles of the perpetrators as well as any other people from Walmart who may have been involved.
If, in fact, Walmart staff was involved it is hoped that they can be identified & pursued for appropriate action.
It is also hoped that other homeless shelters will pick up on this & be aware of the incident, looking for this same scam to be run on them & their clients.
The real shame comes in several ways, maybe its the sin, but it’s definitely immoral & a scam that was played on otherwise unsuspecting human beings.
Taking advantage of these homeless men & assuming that they would take part in the SCAM because they were so desperate & inclined to do illegal or immoral things to get some money is rather presumptuous & dangerous behavior.
It turns out these particular guys were NOT inclined to participate. In fact they are very religious & moral people it turns out. That is evidently not what the perpetrators of the scam believed was the case.
So there goes one of the stereotypes of homeless people & the people who help them, naivety & desperate behavior in order to survive their circumstances.
And that’s one of the GOOD things that happened today! The fact that the foru (4) homeless guys refused to participate is a GOOD thing & shows that these stereotypes aren’t 100% true.
So this is the event that caused this author to take the step to actually create a blog & hopefully a platform to communicate on the issues we see in homelessness. The author had been contemplating this move for quite a while – this event triggered the internal fortitude to proceed.
Stay tuned as we develop this blog towards these goals & objectives.
The author is purposefully remaining in the background & developing these stories & future posts as if he is a journalist & an advocate for the issues we discuss here, which he is. Although he does not have a direct journalistic background, but has been a blogger before on other topics, mostly for business purposes.
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