Port Isabel family turns to 'cyber-begging' for gifts

A street corner is where one would normally find someone asking for change but now, that trend is quickly making its way to the Internet.

It's the newest way for people to get help during these tough financial times.

We haven TMt been working much lately, things have just been hard for us, said Laurie Hoffman.

The Port Isabel mother of three said she turned to the web for help this holiday season.

We just kind of needing a little extra help, so we put the ad on craigslist and just hoping someone can reach out to us, she said.

Laurie Hoffman is participating in what TMs being called "cyber begging".

She placed the ad on craigslist hoping someone could bring some holiday cheer to her children.

It just breaks your heart, explained Hoffman. Its the time of the year where your suppose to be able to get them the kind of things that they want and I just told them this year we can TMt.

Laurie and her husband Steve both work in South Padre Island cleaning condos but say this year has been really unusually slow.

The economy the way it is you just don TMt see people coming to the island as much anymore, said Steve Hoffman.

But it looks like they're not the only ones following the cyber-begging trend.

Action 4 News found thousands of similar ads on websites like craigslist, beglist, cyberbeg, and

But the question lies, does it really work?

According to Laurie, she TMs had many responses but so far only one person has actually come through for them.

The person donated four gifts leaving Steve speechless.

He said he was against the craigslist ad at first.

When the first lady did come, it got to me, admitted Steve.

He says it was heartfelt that someone care enough to give to his family but not every one has been so kind.

Their first response was from someone offering them a $900 dollar money order but were quickly disappointed as they found out it was a fake.

Experts warn those cyber begging need to be on the look out for scams.

They advise its better to deal with people in person but, if they must deal with someone on the net use payment options like PayPal.

And although the scam was discouraging, Laurie said she TMs still glad she did it.

I TMve never had to ask before so now were asking and I TMm just glad the Internet was there for that reason, she said.

As for the Hoffman children, a new football or game board will do the trick.

They said they understand that mommy and daddy are struggling.

The Hoffmans are also looking for work and say they know how to do almost anything.

If you would like to help this family please call our listens line at (888) 444-KGBT or email