Help provided anyway is definitely a big thing. You can provide help to any unknown in distress, may be monetary help or in person. Same way you can help your friends and relatives also. In your opinion, which one will you rank first?
I would definitely prefer to help someone i know. Because these days there are so many people who are there just to take advantage of you. I know this is denying help to the needful, but i would still like to be on the safer side.
I would definitely help my family, there is no question of thinking about it. I would also help someone unknown if I feel that person is real distress. I think it is difficult to answer whom I will rank first. Only thing I can say is I will help my family without giving any thought if they are in real distress or just taking advantage of me while in case of stranger I would definetly think if the person truly needs my help or just faking it.
I believe in 'charity begins at home'. Suppose my dear ones are in distress but I overlook them and help outsiders then its merely show off. I am always ready to help my family, friends and other close ones. I take special interest in helping my maid. I do offer help to selected few unknowns regularly just because it's my inner call.
Helping unknown should be in kind and not in money in my opinion, also if any unknown person seeks any monetory help it is important to understand him whether he is telling right or wrong and then make a decision.
It is easier to help someone you know if you have less chances of getting cheated especially if it is a monetary help. However, I give help to people unknown to me through some authenticated source like to some old age home or SOS Childrens Village. Here I am sure that I am not cheated and it is used.