Editorial: Greedy actions of a few make others cautious

Published 12:00 am Friday, October 7, 2005

For over a month now, Americans have been pouring their hearts out to victims of Hurricane Katrina. It’s amazing to think how much has been raised locally, let alone in the other communities wishing to help. It’s overwhelming how generous fellow Americans can be.

But then we hear the occasional story of people who try to take advantage of other people’s generosity and pretend to be hurricane victims.

Most recently, a Waseca woman was arrested on suspicion of defrauding several Red Cross chapters by falsely claiming to be a victim of Hurricane Katrina.Police believe the woman has relatives in Alabama and was giving the money to them. However, officials do not know if the family had actually suffered damage in the hurricane.

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Earlier, officials in Steele County were looking for five women who were allegedly trying to bilk money from the Steele County Red Cross, saying they had lost their homes and all their possessions in Hurricane Katrina. They claimed to be representing five families of 17 people. The women had made similar claims at Red Cross offices in the Twin Cities area.

It’s sad to think people would try to take advantage of the generous spirit that has been so prevalent following this storm. And we’re sure it angers chapter officials, who work hard to check out these claims and truly want to help &045; if legitimate help is needed.

Sadly, there will always be a handful who try to take advantage of the system. We’re grateful there are people on the alert, checking out these claims and keeping people honest. We hope the greedy actions of a few don’t ruin people’s urge to help during catastrophes in the future.