Earlier today, I encountered a story that infuriated me.
It seems that a couple teamed up with a homeless guy to basically scam people out of a whole lot of money. Those are the allegations, at least. If true, then these people have betrayed a great deal of trust. They’ll also make it harder for people to do good in the future.
After all, the question on everyone’s mind will be whether this is legit or another scam.
For me, though, I feel a slightly more personal betrayal, despite never having spoken with any of the three alleged to have committed this act.
You see, I wrote about this touching story and, in the process, probably helped them scam some people.
Since some of this is kind of difficult to research, I’m probably just going to let these stories slide by.
And that’s a real shame.
I’m not of the opinion that I have enough pull to raise tens of thousands of dollars, if not more, just on my word. I’m not that full of myself.
However, I do have it on good authority that when I would post about people needing money, there’s a boost in fundraising efforts. That holds more to the platforms I write for than due to any following I may or may not have. I’m not going to lie.
I wrote about this story over at PJ Media. I was convinced I was helping.
Only, I was helping the wrong thing. My efforts apparently helped enable someone to scam.
Now, these are only allegations being made. Charges are filed but no one has been convicted of anything.
Based on what I’m seeing, though? Yeah, I believe it’s a scam and I believe that in my desire to help, I enabled them to scam at least some people who otherwise wouldn’t have been impacted.
So what do I do about that?
I can’t do much of anything, honestly. I can’t give them their money back. I can’t add additional charges to what they’re already facing. I can’t actually do anything except acknowledge that I inadvertently helped evil.
So now I have to deal with that fact. Now I have to deal with the ramifications of the fact that I somehow fell for this. I failed.
And now I have to move on.
What I said earlier about how I wasn’t going to help this happen again? That stands. I may write the story, but I’m not linking to GoFundMe again. I’m not about to connect con artists with marks. Not. Going. To. Happen.
Instead, I’ll let this serve as a reminder. I’ll let this tell me again how there are vile people in this world and that despite my attempts at a certain degree of cynicism, I still like to think the best of people.
Will I never help people again? Of course not. Some people deserve a little help and I’m more than willing to do that.
But I won’t do more than, at most, donate and only to causes I trust. I’ll donate to organizations with a history of doing good work and where the majority of the money goes where it’s supposed to go.
I will never again unwittingly help evil.