‘High Tech’ Missoula Pandhandler Video a Hoax
The video that went viral about a Missoula, Montana panhandler using a Square card reader and smartphone to raise donations has been revealed as a hoax. While the filmmakers insisted that the video was authentic, others who viewed it called it's bluff early on...and now the panhandler himself has stepped forward to prove that it indeed was a fake.
According to the Roswell Daily Record Online:
The "High Tech Hustler," also known as Elwood Parkins, the homeless man seen in a viral internet video accepting a credit card donation on a mobile Square card swiper spoke exclusively with the Roswell Daily Record's Jared Tucker today, to separate fact from fiction about the video. Parkins said he was led to believe the video was going to be used for comedy purposes, not to be passed off as legitimate. It was rehearsed multiple times, he said.
Homeless advocates are outraged at the video.
The story made waves through Missoula partially due to Parkins claim that he was from the area. It's unclear now if even that statement was true. (Update: RDR tells us that Parkins was from Coon Rapids, Minnesota and at one time lived in Missoula.)
Filmmaker Michael Trujillo had since made numerous television and radio appearances to promote the video and it's authenticity.
We too spoke with the filmmaker as the story began to get noticed by locals. During the interview, Trujillo painted a very detailed picture of the scenario, never eluding to the possibility of the event being staged at all. Listen to the conversation below.