Oklahoma City nonprofit helps travelers, not scammers

A couple tried to scam Oklahoman columnist Carrie Coppernoll in a store parking lot. How can we be compassionate to those who need help while stopping those who take advantage of kindness? By asking the experts.
BY CARRIE COPPERNOLL Published: January 5, 2011
Advertisement
;

Plenty of scammers like to take advantage of the kindness of others, and the best way to prevent it is to look to agencies that help people who are actually in need.

Upward Transitions caseworkers check out every client who needs transportation assistance, said Terri Womack, community outreach program director at Upward Transitions.

Drivers have to have licenses and insurance. Travelers who receive bus tickets have to have a specific destination and a place to stay when they get there. And they have to show the reason they're stranded.

It's hard to do that kind of fact-checking when you're approached by a supposedly stranded traveler. People who want to help should refer them to Upward Transitions, Womack said. The office is at 1033 N Walker. The phone number is 232-5507.

“If they're wanting to help,” she said, “it's better to refer them to our agency. We try to verify their situation.”

Then they can verify that the guy headed to Tulsa was really just headed to the electronics department. And I won't have to embarrass my husband in public.