Woman TMs plea for donations questioned

She's seen on streets throughout the Rio Grande Valley, holding a sign asking for money to help her cancer-stricken niece in Mexico.

The woman told Action 4 News her name was Laura.

When we first met her, she said her 12-year-old niece overcame cancer when she was ten.

She said the 12-year-old is now battling it again.

Action 4 News wanted to help, so we scheduled an interview with the woman.

We hoped her niece's story would spur donations from the public.

The day of the interview she did not return our calls.

Repeated unreturned calls have prompted suspicion as to the validity of her story.

Action 4 News returned to the McAllen intersection where we first met the woman.

There we found Noe Galino, a self-proclaimed U.S. veteran and a veteran of begging.

Galino said he has not seen the woman in a few days.

He said the stories of most people who peddle the streets aren't always honest.

Action 4 News spoke with Dolores Salinas, a representative from the Better Business Bureau.

She said making donations on the side of the road is risky.

"As a consumer you have no way of knowing the legitimacy of their appeals, said Salinas.

Salinas said if you are feeling charitable, donate your money directly to an established organization.

She said although the money donated to the woman in question may have gone to pay for her niece TMs medical expenses, it may have also funded something entirely different.