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E-begging business

Dec 04,2017 - Last updated at Dec 04,2017

The phone rings and a woman’s voice comes up, “are you Mr so and so”? Once you acknowledge that you are so and so, a barrage of wishes and prayers fills your space. Then comes a sad story about a family which will be thrown into the street because they cannot pay their rent. 

Another voice tells you of a student who is about to be banished from the school of medicine because he does not have money to pay the deferred fees. A third one speaks of this family whose custodian is ill and cannot pay the medical bills. 

At the beginning of such an experience, you fall for it. You pay them while feeling great about yourself. Those who abuse your kindness are really a well-organised syndicate. They circulate your phone number among themselves. 

After the repetition of these incidents three or four times, you begin to realise that this whole business is a scam. Once you receive a new call, you automatically ask them where they got your number from. The answer is almost a standard one, “I got it from al ajaweed”, or the do-gooders. You hang-up, but they come back. To put an end to this exploitative exercise, you block the number and take a deep sigh of relief.

That relief is only temporary.You get a telephone call from a different number. Automatically you recognise the voice because it was registered in your physical and virtual memory files. You respond by asking, “So you have two telephone sets?” “NO, no, this is for a kind person who accepted to lend it to me.” You jump in joy thinking “I gotcha” and ask her “put him on”. She tells you he does not want to talk, but please help.

The number of people who use smart phones to beg is increasing. Those who are chased off traffic lights pretending to be venders have found in the virtual world a smart way to excude their slimy charm and hiss their way to your purse.

When I used to agree to pay them fooled by their fabricated stories, they would show up to be paid. They are not old or disabled or in shambles, they look healthy. They can afford to have a decent job. But it does not pay them to do so. They make more money out of people with means and who love to feel good about themselves.

If they tell you that their son is in college and needs to pay fees, you ask them to send you a WhatsApp photo of his college ID. They accept the request and send you a stolen copy of someone else or a blurred photo where only the name of the college is visible.

There are other people who also manage through the e-network to register themselves in the National Assistance Fund where they get a free monthly amount almost equal to their salary if they had chosen to work.

 

Our hearts should always be big and our pockets deep to give the deserving. But extending aid to crooks is a double loss. Not only do we pay these crooks who are dead weight, but we also end up hiring guest labourers to do the jobs these people refuse to take up and resort to begging instead.

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