They have always been around but as the economy has gotten worse they seem to be around even more. You can't seem to get gas, step out of your car at the store or drive by any corner anymore where there is not someone asking for money. I was approached twice in the last 3 days. I do not give these people money(maybe once or twice I have but no more). You don't know if they are scamming, if they are going to buy drugs and alcohol or what. If I have food on me I will give them food and have driven through the drive thru at Taco Bell and got someone a taco once.
I have a feeling though the numbers of these people are just going to increase. Just yesterday I had a woman approach me with a sign "3 kids no money" she was pushing a child in a stroller. This was at Costco and she was approaching everyone in the parking lot. I can honestly tell you I tell these people " I don't carry cash" and I don't that is the convenience now of ATM/Debit cards.