"Would you like to buy some candy to support the Washburn High Recreational Fund? It help keeps kids off of the street, and off of drugs." This quote was rapid fired from the mouth of a woman actively scamming students at Coffman Memorial Union at the U of MN campus. The organization she was raising money for doesn't exist. This was a scam, a very successful scam. After everything was done, she took her pile of money, called her partner to pick her up, that she sold all the candy faster then usual. All it takes for this scam to end, is for people to just say, "No thanks." If you are unsure whether the person is for real, ask for ID form the organization, ask for address information for the organization. Beware of people who have only a heavily used laminated page, without brochures to hand out.
If a woman wasn't to ask students for money, what's the harm in that? Isn't that free speech? What about the legitimate charities out there? Couldn't some of these people who solicit through resturants, and in university buildings be for real?
There is harm in allowing this kind of scam to go on. Students will become less trusting each time they are scammed, hardened to giving, always having to second guess each charitable contribution. Students shouldn't have to feel guilty by saying, "No." While this woman was taking students for a ride at Coffman, many used the excuse, "I don't have any cash." But, some still looked guilty. Others gave out of guilt, and a lot did. She had collected nearly 20 dollars in five minutes from a late dinner crowd. People are convinced they are helping out. Some will doubt whether it's a real charity, but think that she wouldn't ask if she didn't need it herself anyway, so it goes to help someone in need.
I ask all students, and people in general, to give generously to charity when you can. Support student organizations when they ask for donations. You'll find supporting organizations a better cause then supporting a ring of swindlers.