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Overview of panhandling situation in Fallbrook

Julie Reeder and AC Investigations

If you want to help people, it’s always safe to give to local organizations that are accountable to the community and their donors.

Village News did an investigative piece on the panhandlers who repeatedly show up to scam people at the intersection of Ammunition and South Mission Road. These are the people who hold signs with photographs and false stories about children with cancer or other medical issues. They have returned less frequently since then. They are from out of town and Fallbrook was on their circuit. They travel between San Diego, Los Angeles, Riverside and San Bernardino counties.

Village News also did an investigative piece previously on the “church members” clad all in white, from the Missionary Church of the Disciples of Jesus Christ, a Covina and West Covina-based organization. Some donors mistake them for Salvation Army volunteers, which is a legitimate organization. It was previously reported that the organization would bus the solicitors in the morning and pick them up at night. A representative from the “church” said that the organization has solicitation permits throughout Southern California.

More recently, there have been people that are fraudulently trying to sell grocery cards in front of the grocery stores in exchange for money.

There was a group of men approaching seniors in the CVS and Albertson’s parking lot in an old car and asking for money last week. One man who was approached said it was very intimidating, so he just got into his car and left. The Sheriff’s were called and they were pulled over on South Mission on their way out of town. What happened?

There was the lady we talked to last week asking for food and gift cards in front of a grocery store for her grandchildren. We have her on video and she wasn’t telling the truth about several things that became apparent during the conversation.

Lastly, there have been a number of folks walking through parking lots looking in cars, breaking windows and taking valuables in the shopping centers.

Fallbrook Lt. Claudia Delgado said, "It's important for people to be careful to not leave valuables in their cars and to lock their doors.”

While protecting elders and vulnerable individuals from panhandling scams, here are some key points to keep in mind:

- Panhandling scams target people's sympathy and goodwill by using deceptive tactics to solicit money.

- Elderly individuals are often more vulnerable to these scams due to their trusting nature or limited understanding of current scams.

- If you witness any suspicious activity or encounter a panhandling scam, it's crucial to report it to the authorities.

- Calling the sheriffs or local law enforcement is a good way to report such incidents and help protect others from falling victim to scams.

- Remember the "see something, say something" principle, as reporting suspicious behavior can contribute to community safety and prevent potential harm.

Stay aware, alert, and supportive of those who may be targeted by scams.


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