Saturday, September 15, 2007
The Raffle Ticket Scam Game is Vicious
"Excuse me sir... would you like to donate $1 to our (insert church/organization/reputable community organization) to help fund community recreational programs to give disadvantaged youth alternatives to stay off the streets? In addition, we will be raffling off this 64-inch television at the end of the month. Make sure you hold on to your raffle ticket!"
Sometimes, a kid will even be standing there with them along with photocopied literature about the program and a mission statement. You might even find a TV box sitting beside the table.
These are the thoughts that run through most people's minds...."Hell yeah I want to help! I'm walking out of the Wal-Mart with a pocket full of change, and since you're standing in front of a reputable business I know you're legit. It's only a dollar and I won't miss it. I haven't really had time to give back to the community since I've been so busy and now I can help the community with only $1. Hell...I could even write that dollar off on my taxes. With this dollar, I will keep disadvantaged kids off the streets and possibly stop them from turning to a life of crime and possibly robbing me or breaking into my house in the future. AND you're offering me a chance to win a 64-inch TV? I'm in!"
We've all given money to people standing in front of a grocery store with these things in mind, but who has actually won the damn TV? Any of you? Probably not. Why not? Because IT'S A SCAM BITCHES! That's right. A scam!
The raffle ticket scam is brilliant, deceptive and dispicable all at once. These folks hang out around and in front of the entrances of grocery stores (particularly Wal-Marts) to scam you out of YOUR money.
Some of these folks you can spot a mile away: they have poorly put together literature or no literature at all, they look shady and unkept, they have a clip board and raffle tickets for you to "sign-up" or they walk around the parking lot or stand at highway median stoplights to solicit their "charity" with buckets. Usually there is only one or two (otherwise, they'd have to split the take more ways).
I particulary remember one unkept guy walking around the parking lot with a piece of loose leaf paper and a pen talking about he was trying to raise money to get computers at his daughters school. I was so taken aback that I just flat out said to him ...
"C'mon bruh. You can do better than that, right? Take this dollar and get it together, man. Next time I'm out here I want you to have it down tight!"
The more polished ones come off very legit. They actually will go to store management and pitch their charity to them and get permission to stand out front. They wear clothes that reference the charity that they are using, they have professional literature defining the program and where the money will be going, and they dress their tables with fake pamplets and raffle tickets.
I knew someone that ran the raffle scam. In addition to doing all the aforementioned things, he/she would hire kids from the community to stand with him/her and give them a piece of the take at the end of the day. On a good day, he/she would bring in over $1,000 (Which is not hard considering a typical Wal-Mart sees over 6,000 visitors a day). That's hustlin!
Another scam that I've seen in my day is the guy that is trying to get home to another city/state to see his daughter in the hospital. He walks up to you in a parking lot and gives you a sad story about losing his wallet and money and has just gotten word that there has been a terrible tragedy and he just needs $20 to smoke... I mean buy a bus ticket to get home. Less effective than the raffle ticket scam, but they still use it.
Now of course there are some out there that are legit, but from what I've seen, it's going to take a lot of convincing (i.e. Bono standing there in front of the Wal-Mart as a celebrity endorser of a raffle to cure AIDS in Africa) for me to give any money to folks in front of grocery stores.
Who has been hit with these scams? Did you buy in or did you know they were scamming you? Did you call them out? What other scams have you seen?