Bend In The Branch

The personal opinions of one among many.

Wednesday, August 24, 2005

Preying on the Desperate

To the single mother dependent on unemployment benefits to support herself and her children, or the senior citizen dependent on meager Social Security benefits, an official document with a certified check payable for a portion of the jackpot delivered in the mail announcing a lottery winning is a prayer answered.

The document declares the winnings valid, even bears an official state seal.

The check is a mere portion of the moneys due; an act of good faith on the part of the awarder. In exchange for that good faith, the awardee mustn't disclose their winnings to anyone and must pay the taxes and fees due prior to receiving the balance.

The taxes and fees can be paid by credit card. If not an option to the winner, a representative answering a toll-free call jeopardizes his/her job by telling the winner to deposit the check and send the taxes and fees via wire transfer from the winner's bank account.

Sometimes, the helpful representative's directive is followed, but instead of the expected check, a notice of insufficient arrives in the mail.

Sometimes, the little voice within speaks loudly enough to halt action, and a trusted one is called upon for advice.

Perhaps because I cared enough to spend the time to verify funds available, I became the trusted one and maybe, just maybe, I protected an innocent, desperate one.

Perhaps patience, tolerance, and understanding (all qualities easily claimed)should be more frequently displayed by us all.

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