Online begging: brother, can you pay my debt?

Need money fast? Don't have what it takes to stand out by the freeway with a sign and your hand out? Fortunately, you live in a new era, when even the begging can be done online in the comfort and safety of your own home. (Or the library.)

Yesterday as a friend of mine was putting groceries into her car, she was approached by a homeless man carrying a cardboard sign and asking for money. She offered him some of the bananas she had just purchased, but he said he already had food, what he needed was money to find a room for the night. She wouldn't help him there. In a darkening lot she didn't want to open her wallet and take out the few dollars that were inside. Like many people, she has become cynical about handing over cash. This woman prefers to give financial donations directly to shelters and organizations. Still, she felt bad about turning him away. It's hard to ignore real need when it's staring you in the face.

Which is why when I learned of websites devoted to online panhandling and begging, I wondered how effective they could be when most of us have become distrustful enough to turn someone down face to face.

Begslist,Cyberbeg and DonateMoney2Me are websites designed for the purpose of posting personal needs. Begslist provides its service for free, taking its look and its cue from the all-popular Craigslist. while Cyberbeg offers premium placement of a posting for a small fee. Cyberbeg users also pay a percentage of their take to Paypal.