I donate regularly to many street animal feeding, spay/neuter, medical care, and adoption enterprises in Europe and Asia.
Last spring I was contacted online by a young man who said that he was rescuing cats in the streets of Cairo.
He asked me to send him some money because he had to travel out of Cairo to find work.
I sent him a small amount. The next month he wanted more because he hadn’t found work and needed money to live.
He said he had no family and his friends couldn’t help him.
The next month he said he’d been hit by a car and his leg was broken. He couldn't work and needed money.
Next, his leg wasn’t healing properly and he needed money for medical tests and medicine.
I have no way of knowing whether he’s scamming me or if his need is genuine.
I’m by no means in a financial position to support him and have told him so.
Should I keep helping him with small amounts or cut him off.
You’ve done enough.
Your kindness to a total stranger has been exemplary.
However, you have no certainty that he’s been telling the truth, and you can’t afford to support him indefinitely.
Unfortunately, there’ve been far too many Internet scams played on good-hearted people like you to not need to question whether this is the case too.
What’s typical of such scams is this man’s continuing and escalating needs.
Tell him you wish him well but have had some financial difficulties of your own and can no longer send money.
Given that you can’t keep up responding to his demands, this is not really a lie.
Then end contact.
Reader’s Commentary “My husband and I are almost 59. Every month we host a dinner and games night with our adult children and their significant others.
“We used to cook everything, then one person suggested a pot luck with everyone contributing.
“Every month we have a different food theme - “Italian,” “Korean,” “tasty gluten-free,” etc.
“I decorate the table in the theme, mostly using Dollar Store finds, and play music fitting the theme.
“After dinner, we play games and/or go for a walk on the nearest trail.
“We have a lot of laughs on these family nights. I see us continuing to do this as grandchildren come along. We’ll have pop-up cots and play pens for them.
“We may change our get-togethers to the afternoon.
“We may have to go to them, so that their kids can sleep in their beds.
“We’ll adapt to whatever comes up and have regular family plans so that everyone knows that this family spends time together.
“Grandparents need to reach out and let their children know that they miss them. It doesn’t have to be expensive or elaborate, just a chance to spend some time in one-another’s lives.
“If grandkids live close enough, grandparents can ask to be advised of important sports and arts events in which the children are participating.
“They can show up once a month or so. There are always ways to reach-out and start new family traditions.
“Chances are, the adult kids and grandkids have busy lives and just don’t have the time or the willingness to take the initiative.
“And grandparents can also let their children know that as they grew older, they’ve thought about what’s most important and meaningful in life.”
Ellie – Wonderful examples of being proactive keeping family get-togethers welcoming, fun, and adaptive to everyone’s needs.
FEEDBACK Regarding “Hounded at Work” by her intrusive co-worker (March 31):
Reader – “The letter-writer should’ve been advised to view this situation as an opportunity to learn strategies for dealing with difficult people.
“She needs to know that she can learn to be more assertive and confident - skills that’ll help her in her career.
“Workshops, books, and online resources teach these strategies.
“Employees should only reach out to HR personnel for help with serious issues that they couldn’t be expected to navigate on their own.”
Ellie – When a letter-writer feels “distressed and emotionally drained,” I offer compassion as well as direction. The “problem” was serious to her.
But I did suggest that if she didn’t want to involve Human Resources, to “gather your strength and speak up to the co-worker yourself.
“Say you’re busy and don’t engage. If she interrupts a conversation, stop her early and say it’s a private chat.”
Tip of the day:
End contact with a suspected online scammer.