What’s on the iPod: Hospital by Counting Crows
Yesterday was a sprint for which I felt seriously out of shape. I knew I’d be busy when I returned from California, but I didn’t realize just how busy. By noon I’d finished a blog post, sat in on a team conference call, reviewed one set of client edits, interviewed someone for an article, and reviewed a second set of client edits. Lunch was a blur.
I was able too to get through my pile of emails. Since synching my phone to my email account, I’ve been able to review emails while I’m out of the office, but there were a few that had to be reread and responded to. One in particular won’t be getting my response. It’s a note that’s been circulating among the freelancers I know.
It started out kind of spammy. “Hi, I’ve been visiting your site often to get valuable information.”
That could be true…IF my blog were linked to my site. It’s not. My site? It’s my resume and portfolio, not informational.
Then came the “I need your help” request. And that’s where the person lost me.
This may or may not be a legitimate need, and a legitimate situation in which someone needs help, but to ask a complete stranger for help is a bit odd. To ask for money in lieu of help — beyond odd and right into scam.
Here’s why this person won’t get my direct response:
No interaction. “Hi” is not my name. You don’t know me and didn’t bother to take the time to learn my name. Go away.
Asking for favors. My friends rarely ask for favors. When they do, I leap to help them. When someone I’ve never met or heard of asks, I won’t help. That’s leech-like behavior and I’m not promoting it. If you had asked me how to find work or where you might find clients that pay more, I’d be helping you out because you’re intent on building a career, not looking for a handout.
Expecting instant trust. You don’t care enough about building a relationship first before you ask — I don’t care what your story is. You haven’t earned trust or shown any reason for me to care.
Name dropping. This one made the mistake of naming two people who have backed this particular person’s fundraising efforts — one of whom I’m quite close to. The “backed by” statement was way out of line. The one “backer” quoted said “Yea, I don’t know who the devil it is.”
“I’m not a scammer or anything.” No? Then why are you behaving like one?
The story on the person’s website may be true. There may be a divorce and a dire financial situation. However, I have friends who have been through separation/divorce (and so have I), and I know there are any number of ways in which the left-behind spouse can get money, or hey, a job. And again, I don’t know you, so how do you expect me to believe your story is real?
This may be a legitimate person with a real problem, but the way it’s being handled, it’s not building any confidence that the story is true. I have seen the name around before, but I’m not convinced in the tale’s accuracy. I will give advice – not money. That’s all you should be asking for anyway.
How do you identify legitimate versus a scam? When do you help and how?