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Police say woman's story of ill child may be scam

Posted November 17, 2015

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— A woman going around the Triangle is sharing a sad story, and people hearing it have given the woman a lot of money. But now her story has spread on social media, and police say it may be a scam.

Kathleen Jackson has a strong faith and a generous heart, so when she met someone in a Walmart in Wake Forest who appeared to be in need, she listened.

"She told me that she has three little girls and that her husband left her as soon as the third one was born because the baby had stomach cancer," Jackson said Tuesday.

The woman told Jackson she needed money for a prescription.

"I went to the ATM, handed her a $100 bill," Jackson said. "I hugged her. I told her that God does love her, and I thanked her for letting me bless her by giving her the money for her baby."

Jackson then shared the story with friends, who later sent her a Facebook link with countless stories from other people who gave the same woman money at gas stations and other businesses across the Triangle.

Shawn Welch said he was suspicious when a woman at a Garner gas station told him she was waiting for her ex-husband to bring her money.

"My youngest daughter has a sickness, and she's real sick, and I need that money," Welch said the woman told him. "Kind of seemed like she was in distress of some sort."

Instead of giving her money, he decided to follow her, noting that she told him she was heading to work in Cary but then headed in the opposite direction. When she wound up in a nearby parking lot, he said, she spotted him following her in his truck and drove off.

Capt. Matt May of the Wake Forest Police Department said the woman may be lying, but it's not necessarily illegal.

"People are actually offering to give her money without her soliciting," May said, adding that people "should just be really cautious about who you give money too and where that money is actually going."

WRAL News tried to contact the woman in Clayton, but she wasn't home.

Jackson said she will continue to give to people in need but maybe not as freely next time.

"That's what makes me angry. It makes people gun-shy of giving," she said.


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  • Bj Hernandez Nov 27, 2015
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    Lori murphy if u have a facbook account can u please contact me I would like to talk to u about this woman doing this please

  • Lori Murphy Nov 19, 2015
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    WRAL, why not give her name? This woman has broken several laws, here in NC and FLA. Folks, her name is Mindy Marie Rains. She is either a meth or Coke addict. Her children have all been taken away from her.

  • Eric Seals Nov 18, 2015
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    I believe that if you give money to someone because you have a generous spirit then God knows your heart and you will receive a blessing. If it turns out to be a scam, then that falls on the scammer but your heart was in the right place. Don't let a few scammers harden your heart or mislead you into believing that everyone is a scammer. There are some seriously bad off people in our community who need help and the government does not help everyone in need.

  • Erika Phipps Nov 18, 2015
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    I point those wanting handouts to the nearest church. I refuse to risk being ripped off as too many of the beggars (let's call them what they are) have addiction problems they refuse to acknowledge, much less seek help for. Also, money wasted on parasites is money I can't give to reputable causes that actually work to improve lives. Enabling the irresponsible improves nobody.

  • Lori Murphy Nov 18, 2015
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    View quoted thread


  • Barrett Powell Nov 18, 2015
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    If you want to help, offer to go with them to the pharmacy or to the gas station or wherever they need the money and pay for their order. If they have a drug problem you will be doing them a greater service. If they actually need the item you will have helped as well.

  • Patty MacRae Nov 18, 2015
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    Too many scams and if I don't now what the money will be used for I keep walking. Sorry. I will not give cash to anyone. I have been known to fill up gas tanks and add fast food lunches to my tab. I have helped some standing at the check out counter short on cash. I only give cash to organizations with a high % of charitable return-without the high paid executives-- usually faith based. There are many ways to help those truly in need.

  • Anne Havisham Nov 18, 2015
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    I contribute to homeless shelters and other outfits that help people in need without a lot of hoop-jumping. I usually don't give money, and if I do, only what I can afford to lose if it's a scam.

    I'm sure I've been taken by a few scam artists, but I'd still rather be duped than not share what I have.

    I had a small bag of food with me and gave it to a man asking for money near a shopping mall. It did my heart good to see him immediately eat one of the apples.

  • Lori Murphy Nov 18, 2015
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    I tried to upload her picture but can't. How is what she is doing NOT illegal. Its called FRAUD. Why don't the police try to substantiate her story?

  • Lori Murphy Nov 18, 2015
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    second part of FB post
    She cries, talks about how she used to live a comfortable middle class life, says how she's embarrassed by the state of her teeth and doesn't have $$ to fix them, embarrassed to ask for money. Sadly my husband and I just realized we've both been scammed by her at different times. Luckily I only had a few $ but my husband went to ATM to get her $ for the prescription. I'm telling you she's good! She's been seen just today at the WF Target doing the exact same thing. Fortunately a shopper knew about her and warned the poor woman she was about to scam. Keep your eyes open!"