Does Cyber Begging Really Work?

Does Cyber Begging Really Work?
Cyber begging means asking for funds/financial help through the web in order to protect identity. This Buzzle post discusses the effectiveness of cyber begging and its legal implications, if any.
Did You Know?
Karyn Bosnak can be considered to be the first person to launch a cyber begging website, called 'Save Karyn', which garnered immediate attention. Karyn has also launched a book by the same name, in which she has described the story of her struggles with debt.
Cyber begging is similar to traditional begging except that it involves asking money online. Also called internet panhandling/internet begging/e-begging, it allows people to request donors and reasonably well-off individuals for monetary support. They may also request for clothes, furniture, books, accessories, if need be. The principal aim of online begging is to protect the person's identity.

There is nothing shameful about asking for help, of course, yet there are people who might feel embarrassed to do so. Cyber begging sites are the perfect solutions for such people. On the contrary, such sites may also be dominated by people who may not actually be in need, but may be posing to so. The paragraphs below give you an insight into cyber begging.

An Introduction
  • Without efficient financial planning or poor financial decisions, people can fall into serious trouble―some incur debt, some have a bad credit history, many lose their possessions.
  • People may need money for buying a house urgently, clearing a debt, enrolling in a college, to pay bills, for vital surgeries, and a myriad other reasons.
  • There are plenty of places one could find monetary help―there are organizations, non profits, help associations, etc. One can opt for fundraisers as well. But then, many are ashamed of asking for help from external sources.
  • This is where e-begging comes in. It protects your identity and dignity―people do not know whom they are paying the money to. Not at face value, at least.
  • You can write down your problem and the reasons why you need money (or anything else), and post it online. People will read your post and respond accordingly.
  • If you get what you want, great. If not, you do not have to face the humiliation of being rejected, which reduces your morale to a great extent.
  • Having been introduced more than one and a half decades back, cyber begging has gained immense popularity and has been in the news. In fact, off late, people have started misusing such sites, which has given rise to several questions about its credibility.

How Does it Work?
  • Internet begging works via donation through PayPal.
  • These websites list down the people who are in need of money. If you are in trouble, you have to pen down your story and feature it on these sites.
  • When the stories are sent, ads are created first, and then, these ads are displayed on other websites as well.
  • The ads will be posted on social networking sites and poker sites as well, and your story will be read by innumerable readers.
  • The contributions will then start pouring in. This part is certainly tricky. If your story has genuinely touched people, they will make a contribution. It may also be possible that you may not receive any contributions at all, or may receive fewer than anticipated.
  • You must remember that no cyber begging site asks for a registration fee. If you come across a site that does, rest assured that it is a fake.
  • You will need to create a PayPal account and post it along with your story. Money will be sent to you via PayPal itself.

Legal Considerations
  • There are a lot of speculation about the legality of cyber begging.
  • To answer your question, yes, cyber begging is 100% legal and ethical.
  • If you are facing financial troubles, you have every right to request for help. You also have the right to protect your dignity and self-esteem.
  • This is a type of digital charity, and according to reports, it certainly works and is completely legal.
  • What is unethical is to fake sob stories and lie about your situation to get money.
  • Cyber begging is a concept solely for people who are in dire need. There have been cases when people have faked illnesses or bad debts to receive donations. If you ever get caught, you may be punished nevertheless; you will also be responsible for donors to lose faith in cyber begging and in helping people out.
  • Also, preferably, avoid posting stories of paltry needs. I am not indicating that requesting for gifts or holidays is wrong, but there are people who are desperately seeking basic needs, and consequently, donors would prefer helping them out instead of responding to the posts that request for something that is not quite essential.

Success and Failure Stories
  • A woman in Canada, who was suffering from a genetic disease, undertook cyber begging to help her pay her medical bills.
  • Another woman faked that her daughter was suffering from leukemia and received no donations.
  • A man requested donations to help him with a hair transplant and has received moderate success (surprisingly, he has received at least half the money).
  • A woman had requested a cyber begging site to help her pay for her nursing course.
  • Yet another man had requested people to help him pay his house rent and bills. Despite being genuine, he hasn't been able to collect the money he wanted.
As mentioned earlier, there is nothing to be ashamed of to ask people for help. But, please be honest and resort to cyber begging if you are facing a genuine problem. If you misuse the sites solely to earn a quick buck, you are not only committing a grave mistake, but also hampering the chance for many others who may be in need of financial help for a genuine cause. And, donors remember to ensure the authenticity of the website.