(WEAU) – The Eau Claire Chamber of Commerce is teaming up with the local police department to try to eliminate an issue that has people wondering if they're giving to the right people.
The Eau Claire Chamber of Commerce released its weekly newsletter saying there is an increase in panhandlers.
But some of those panhandlers aren't what they seem to be.
The Eau Claire Police Department says they've seen a number of panhandlers working at the intersection of 53 and 12.
Another popular place is on Commonwealth Avenue near Oakwood Mall and at Gateway Drive, which is near Kohl’s and Jade Garden.
"I know over in the Wal-Mart area there's been one real one and one fake one," Aaron Volkman, local business owner.
Since 2009, the Eau Claire Police Department has seen 140 cases of panhandling. Some panhandlers have even admitting to making $400 a day.
One business owner near Oakwood Mall says he's seen a lot them this summer.
"I think it’s more of a nuisance. I know the one that was in the parking lot here. I’m guessing he was from Minnesota because he would pull up in an out of state van and leave it in the parking lot for the day,” said Volkman.
Meanwhile the president of the Eau Claire Chamber of Commerce says he questions whether some of the panhandlers are actually in need.
"I've seen a person and wife and two children and they get all done and they get in their Cadillac and they take off and drive down the road,” said Bob McCoy, President of the Eau Claire Chamber of Commerce.
The Eau Claire Police Department and the Chamber of Commerce says if you see someone with a sign asking for money, the best option is to try and give them food.
McCoy says if someone wants to help those in need, people can donate to the Hope Gospel Mission or even the Sojourner House.
He also says businesses have tried to help panhandlers in the past.
"We have examples of business people who have stopped and offered these people a job and they turned it down, they'll say why you won’t come to work. I could make more money standing here panhandling than I can work for you and I don't have to pay taxes,” said McCoy.
"It’d be nice to know if they were real or not because it would be nice to help out," said Volkman.
The police department says business owners have the right to not allow panhandlers to loiter on their property.
If a panhandler becomes disruptive or aggressive, you can call the number for the non-emergency line, (715) 839 – 4972.