I'm in southern California. Panhandling is rampant here. Every freeway exit. Every shopping center exit. Every parking lot. It is getting impossible to go anywhere without being accosted by someone asking for money. I've noticed that when it's getting closer to a holiday like July 4, there are a bunch of guys in wheelchairs claiming to be vets who are panhandling in place of the usual ones. And maybe they ARE vets. But it's a little suspicious that the only time I see them asking for a handout is around Memorial Day, July 4, etc. The rest of the time, it's a single guy, a single woman, sometimes a woman with a child. There's also a woman who panhandles from the center island of an intersection, which my husband says is illegal.
My husband has a theory that many of the freeway exit panhandlers - who honestly do not look like homeless people at all - are actually out-of-work actors who have been recruited to be panhandlers. Don't know if it's true. It's just that we have actual homeless people around, who curiously do not panhandle, and the freeway/shopping center exit ones look way too clean and well-rested compared to the real homeless.
I've noticed that some shopping centers are starting to crack down a bit, probably due to complaints from patrons. But every time I see someone reach out of their car to hand them money I think, you're being scammed.