Door to Door Tzedakah

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  • #1417852

    yossi.in.flatbush
    Participant

    $18 or $1800?

    How do you handle people coming around to your door asking for Tzedakah?

    I usually write an $18 check made payable to the organization. Recently my $18 check was cashed for $1800! The number was 18, but the words said Eighteen Hundred. It could have been my mistake, not sure, but I’d like to contact the organization to straighten it out with them. Has anyone heard of Chaim B’Chesed and know how to contact them?

    #1418529

    Joseph
    Participant

    Legally (based on the UCC), when there’s a difference between the numerical dollar figure and the written spelled out dollar figure on a check, the written figure controls and is what the bank must use.

    You may wish to inquire from your bank what options exist to correct this.

    #1418627

    lesschumras
    Participant

    You gave a check to a stranger for an entity you never heard of?

    #1418630

    WinnieThePooh
    Participant

    Do you get back the deposited check and can you see if someone added in the “hundred”? Would you normally write eighteen hundred, as opposed to one thousand, eight hundred?

    #1418687

    apushatayid
    Participant

    Tell your bank you didnt write it and it is fraud. Sadly, this happens all too often. Someone altered several checks of a family member, luckily for him, the person tried cashing the checks outside the country which Citibank flagged up and put into “pending” status until they could verify if the checks are legit. Another collector took several blank checks from a family member and tried writing them to himself and other family members. Because the signature was so very different than the one on file (and was riddled with spelling mistakes – “fiftee for dollars” was one amount, the bank called to verify the checks.

    #1419182

    yossi.in.flatbush
    Participant

    joseph, thanks for the information. If that’s correct, what’s the point of writing both a number and spelling out the number in words. I could understand going by the number spelled out if there’s a small discrepancy, but I think $18 vs $1800 should cause the bank to deny the check.

    #1419184

    yossi.in.flatbush
    Participant

    lesschumras, Yes, I give Tzedakah to people going door to door. What do you do?

    #1419195

    takahmamash
    Participant

    When we lived in Baltimore we used tzedakah scrip from the Agudah. That ensured that there would be no fraud.

    #1419422

    apushatayid
    Participant

    “What do you do?”

    We only give cash

    #1419800

    yitzyk
    Participant

    It’s the gift that keeps on giving! The more you give, the more that will come to get!

    I am guessing that you just wrote ‘Eighteen’ in the amount, without the traditional line afterwards, designed to prevent this very fraud. The organization probably cashed the check for the perpetrator, giving him a percentage of the total. It appears that you have been the victim of intentional fraud and should contact the bank and the organization. Maybe they have some record of who they received the check from?

    I have heard numerous complaints about people having checks written for Eight changed to Eighty – a very slight and easy change, and other similar changes. In addition to being careful when writing checks to not leave any extra blank space, I also check on my bank’s website to see the amount the check cleared for, and the back of the check to see what organization deposited the check. I had checks written to organizations (such as UTA – Satmar) cashed in non-tax deductible venues, such as Satmar Meat Market (for the aforementioned UTA check.)

    I also make a note in my checkbook of the name of the person collecting. This is useful if for example they come back only two months later and claim that they haven’t been here since last year (technically it WAS before and after December 31,) or they say “Last time you gave me $100, can you give me a little more this time – and my records show that you gave them $25.

    My worst peeve is that they come to my door already knowing my name, saying “Ah, Mr. Xxxxx! How are you!” as if they know me very well, even if they have never seen me before.

    #1420616

    apushatayid
    Participant

    I have no issue if people knock on my door. I dont live in sdom.

    #1421002

    Redleg
    Participant

    Here’s another thought about giving money to random strangers: Is zedaka a din in the cheftza or in the gavra? If it’s a din in the gavra, I.E. I am commanded to give zedaka, then I have fulfilled my requirement with the donation. If the recipient is a fraud, that’s his avla. On the other hand, if zedaka is a din in the cheftza, I.E. the donation is mammon shel Hegdesh, the donor is responsible, as an apitropos of Hegdesh, to ascertain that the recipient is legitimate.

    #1421032

    DaasYochid ☕
    Participant

    I don’t know how cheftza/gavra comes in here.

    If the recipient is not even eligible for tzedakah, it’s not tzedakah. He gets credit for his good intentions, but he is not mekayem the mitzvah.

    #1421596

    CTLAWYER
    Participant

    I’m old fashioned, I still have a checkwriting machine on my desk at home and one one in the office. Every check is processed through the machine which embosses the amount by perforating the check and inking in red and blue. It can not be altered by hand.

    My children used to love helping me pay bills when they were little. Inserting the check, pushing the buttons down in each column for the amount and pulling the handle down to cut the check.

    #1421662

    Gadolhadorah
    Participant

    There is considerable fraud among the growing number of so called “shalichim” purporting to represent all sorts of worthy mosdos (most of which we’ve never heard of or with generic names that sound similar to legitimate mosdos). Many arrive from EY with letters in laminated plastic in their hands claiming to have the endorsement from chashuve rabbonim , including some of the organizations established in willy, BP and Lakewood set up for the specific purpose of screening the frauds from the legitimate. Bottom line is that you roll the dice with these guys (I’ve never head a woman coming to schneur). We’ve generally adopted a policy of asking them for the website of the various mosdos and telling them we will donate directly online once we can verify the legitimacy of the site. We absolutely will not give a dime to someone claiming to be collecting on behalf of some individual or family that has encountered a tragedy unless we personally know the rav who has endorsed their funding effort. The many legitimate online sites (such as those advertising here on YWN) provide sufficient opportunity if you want to support those who have such needs. If you are fortunate enough to not have to worry about giving away money to fraudsters and scammers, than obviously feel free to do so.

    #1421669

    BaltimoreMaven
    Participant

    in Baltimore Rav Moshe Heinemann and the Agudath Yisroel of Baltimore have a very thorough screening and checking method. Besides the scrip available, the Baltimore Teudah is the “gold standard.” I believe Baltimore is one of a very few cities That do not charge for this service. Once the Aguda approves of a meshulach, people give freely. Without a Teuda we are suggested to give a token amount. We get over a thousand meshulachim a year. Some may be frauds but Rav Heinemann runs a good operation that weeds most out.

    #1421695

    slominer
    Participant

    How would you know if the letter presented from the Baltimore Teudah is legitimate or a forgery?

    Why would any town charge the poor for a verification service?

    If you’re getting over a thousand meshulachim a year, I assume you’re getting 3 to 4 meshulachim come to you every day of the week (other than Shabbos and Yom Tov)?

    #1421804

    apushatayid
    Participant

    “If you’re getting over a thousand meshulachim a year, I assume you’re getting 3 to 4 meshulachim come to you every day of the week”

    This is normal number for the average chazaras hashatz in my local shteeble.

    #1421832

    iacisrmma
    Participant

    Slonimer: You would call the AI of Baltimore and ask if they issued a teudah to xxxxxx. They have a similar service in Lakewood. Many times I check the teudah and find it is passed the expiration date.

    As to the number of meshulachem, this week we have had 5 come to our shul.

    #1421933

    slominer
    Participant

    apushtayid – do you daven in a Minyan Factory?

    iacisrmma – five in a week isn’t 3-4 a day. Regarding calling to check the Teudah’s authenticity, do you call everytime someone presents a Teudah? Otherwise how will you know its authenticity each time you get one?

    #1421936

    BaltimoreMaven
    Participant

    The Aguda / Rav Heinemann Teuda is laminated. It also has time / light sensitive labels embedded under the laminating That slowly turn color and show you when it is expired. Meshulachim are allowed to come once per year. They don’t all come evenly spread throughout the year. They sort of bunch together. And ish mipi ish more come every year. I’m sire NY gets tons more than us but Baltimore is known for a phenomenon: everyone opens their door and gives something, even if it’s not a lot. I heard that in one week a standard meshulach can bring in $2-3k. And the drivers are forced by Rav Heinemann to take only 25% not 33%.

    #1421988

    apushatayid
    Participant

    No. I daven in a small community shteeble.

    #1421969

    slominer
    Participant

    People forge currencies, so I’m sure despite the security in the paper forging a Teudah isn’t rocket science.

    Isn’t 25% a lot for drivers? If one standard meshulach is collecting $2-3k a week, the driver is getting $500-$750 a week from each meshulach he drives.

    #1422300

    apushatayid
    Participant

    “the driver is getting $500-$750 a week from each meshulach he drives.”

    The new meshulach driver share app lets the collectors share one driver and pay less per collection.

    #1422373

    slominer
    Participant

    If the driver is getting a percentage then the driver doesn’t get any less.

    Why is the driver getting a percentage? It would be much more cost effective to pay him an hourly rate.

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