A fake homeless woman begging for change at a Richmond, Virginia, roadway was exposed on a now-viral video, one that shows the woman threatening the man capturing the video and then leaving in her luxury car.
The video was uploaded to YouTube on Sunday and went viral after it was shared on the link-sharing site Reddit and rose to the top post. In the video, the woman was seen walking up and down a road median at a traffic light while holding a sign claiming she was homeless and begging for change from motorists. The woman was seen at times jogging back and forth between cars and occasionally stopping at open car windows to take in donations.
But the video then cut and showed the woman returning to a car that had been parked in an adjacent McDonald’s parking lot. The man holding the camera and another unseen man then questioned why the woman was begging for change when she had a car that cost more than $20,000 — one that the cameraman identified as a 2014 Fiat sports utility vehicle.
The woman then went to the drive-through window of the nearby McDonald’s seeking help from the employees there — and finding none.
“You can call the police if you need to, but there’s nothing I can do,” the employee told the woman, at the same time the cameraman warned that she had been parking in the restaurant’s parking lot illegally while she was panhandling in the nearby road.
As the video went on, the fake homeless woman even made a veiled threat to the men behind the camera.
“Y’all are barking up the wrong tree, I’m telling you right now,” she said.
“I’ll bark wherever I want to bark,” the man answered.
As the confrontation went on, the woman became more aggressive in her veiled threats.
“Someone is going to end up killing you,” she said.
The full video can be seen below.
The video of the fake homeless woman begging for change also sparked quite a bit of controversy. In the un-edited video, the woman’s full license plate could be seen and that prompted some commenters on Reddit and YouTube to look up information for the car’s registration.
While many condemned the woman for fooling motorists into giving her money, some noted that there was no way to verify the claims made against the woman or to prove that the video wasn’t set up — a legitimate concern in the age of hoax videos being manufactured in the hopes of going viral and earning some attention for the people filming them.
Others noted that demonizing the woman could end up doing more harm than good for those truly in need.
“Maybe this lady is 100% fake, publicising her scam does little more than anger up the blood of viewers (she pissed me off too),” one person wrote. “But considering this video doesn’t really hurt her (is it really likely that her or the ‘victims’ are going to see this?), what the point?”
“The rage over the odd ‘million dollar mansion faker’ story helps justify a ‘f**k this guy’ attitude towards all of the less fortunate – not necessarily from all rational viewers, but a good chunk (I’ll wager) want to be able to feel that all beggars are scammers. It sure does feel better to think that way!”
But it seemed the opposite sentiment was prevailing. National news outlets had started to pick up on the story of the fake homeless woman in Richmond, and the video continued to go viral on YouTube and across social media, provoking a mostly angry response.
[Featured Image by 1T Productions/YouTube]