A hand-out might not be a hand-up

Tazewell County Virginia

 The holiday season has begun and people are in the spirit of helping others, but not everyone asking for help has the best intentions. The Tazewell County Sheriff’s Office warned people about panhandlers in their latest episode of “Inside the Blue.”

Lieutenant Jonathan Hankins advised people against giving to panhandlers directly. Instead, Hankins recommended giving money to a trusted organization that will ensure the donations are given to people in need.

“Labor of Love in Tazewell, the Bluefield Union Mission, Lilies of the Field. There are several different places in and around Tazewell County that take donations that do help people and that do check people out,” Hankins explained.

Hankins warned that not everyone asking for help is actually in need of help. He said people may try to take advantage of the situation.

“We encourage people not to take money out of their wallets and hand it people. You don’t know what they are. You don’t know what their intentions are. They may take your whole purse, they may try to take your money and run,” Hankins said.

In the event that one is approached by a person asking for money, Hankins said to call 911 and police will get them in contact with an organization that can help.

“Call the police and we can look into them, and see if they are legit. Most of the time we have seen if someone is legit, they aren’t going to mind us checking them out. However, if they’re just scamming and panhandling, they’re just going to leave as soon the police are called,” Hankins said.

The Tazewell County Sheriff’s Office does a live recording of “Inside the Blue” on Facebook every Monday at 3 p.m.

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