Many of us are filled with a desire to 'give' during this time of year, and that's usually a very good thing. Buying gifts for children in need through charitable organizations or donating to a food pantry are great! But the Bangor Police are warning residents not to be duped by panhandlers who ask for handouts they don't really need.

Our friends at the Bangor Police Department issued the warning this week via their Facebook page. It was an eye-opener, even for someone like me who writes about these kinds of scams all the time. It's just so easy to get taken in by someone who seems sincere and claims to be in need.

I'll confess to something, even though it's a bit embarrassing. I think Jim and I got taken in by one of these people over the summer. The guy gave us a sob story about trying to raise bus fair to get home. I think he said he was from Portland. We felt bad for him and gave him some cash. It wasn't a lot of money, but after reading about a scam artist working the area who's doing exactly what this guy did, it was enough to make me realize that we need to be more careful.

I encourage you to take the time to read this post from the Bangor PD. And keep it in the back of your mind as you head to the shops to buy your Christmas gifts. If you really want to help, Manna and the Salvation Army Angel Tree are set up at Bangor Mall. Or pick a tag off the Hands of Hope trees at Walmarts. Or you could buy a toy and drop it off Saturday morning at Bangor Walmart. We'll be there with a truck and the Bangor PD.

Stay safe, folks! And have a very Merry Christmas!