web analytics
October 2, 2014 / 8 Tishri, 5775
At a Glance
Sections
Sponsored Post
Meir Panim with Soldiers 5774 Roundup: Year of Relief and Service for Israel’s Needy

Meir Panim implements programs that serve Israel’s neediest populations with respect and dignity. Meir Panim also coordinated care packages for families in the South during the Gaza War.



Chronicles Of Crises In Our Communities

By:
Chronicles-logo

Beware of Impostors

Dear Rachel,

I am hoping you can address an unfortunate occurrence that happened to me recently on the Upper East Side of Manhattan on an erev Shabbos afternoon. I was talking on my cell phone when a seemingly frum yarmulke-clad man approached me. He told me that his car was towed and that he was short the $80 fee he would need in order to reclaim his car from the pound.

Though he was a total stranger, I felt bad that he was in trouble and foolishly agreed to lend him the money. As he followed me to the bank, he went so far as to explain that if this wasn’t my bank and it would charge an extra “ribbis” (fee/interest), he would repay that too.

Before I even had the chance to withdraw the money, the man told me that there would most probably be a tax on the tow fine and asked for another $40. Unfortunately, I did not ask him for identification or collateral. I was so caught up in fulfilling the mitzvah that I did not think I was being scammed. In my naïveté I told him that I would lend him the money on condition that he would provide me with his contact information and repay me after Shabbos.

Sad to say, the information he gave me was bogus and his supposed phone number a non-working one. This man was a very good actor, and as a young student who was never tricked like this before, I fell into his trap and was royally duped.

In hindsight, there were many parts of this man’s story that seemed odd. What I learned from this experience is that frum people must be wary of these tricksters who use religion as a means to steal money and that one should be careful before lending any money out. Without serious legal protection, I.O.U. or collateral, the money is as good as stolen. This “borrower” took advantage of my youth and inexperience in these matters, and of the fact that I love doing chesed.

I believe the $140 I lost can teach the orthodox Jewish community a valuable lesson. As for myself, I will make sure that I will not be bamboozled like this again. Rachel, your advice is always wise and truthful. Please write about this issue so that frum people will be warned to be careful when dealing with frum-looking strangers who appear out of nowhere and ask for loans. You would be doing our community a great service.

Victimized…but learned a valuable lesson

Dear Victimized,

Your letter awoke a memory… I too fell victim to this sort of scam, almost a decade ago. The scene unfolded on a Manhattan street where a gent sporting a kippa on his head stopped to ask me about a “Jewish” bus schedule and then for monetary assistance to help him make his fare to New Jersey, for he had just left all of his belongings in a cab.

Short story, I actually insisted he take more than the $20 he asked for, since it wouldn’t be wise for him to be stranded penniless. In fact, I voluntarily handed him two 20s, and – like you, my dear friend – I reveled in having the mitzvah come my way. This superb actor took off with a “zei gezunt” greeting and a promise to return the loan within a day or so. (I had given him my work address.)

My daughter, bless her heart, later told me she’d have done the same, while my more seasoned spouse was incredulous – “I can’t believe you fell for his lines…” – and was unmoved by my insistence on the man’s total sincerity.

Later, as word got around among some friends and co-workers, I heard an earful. While I was still hoping to prove the skeptics wrong, one fellow-worker’s comment jolted me: “I have good news and bad news for you. The bad news is that you’re not getting your money back. The good news is that you gave him only $40. I gave him $70.”

Since then several other such incidents have come to light. Albeit the ruse varies – sometimes the expert scammer needs to get to Pennsylvania on an erev Shabbos and other times to the Catskills – the modus operandi is the same. And readers beware: it can happen anywhere.

About the Author: We encourage women and men of all ages to send in their personal stories via email to rachel@jewishpress.com or by mail to Rachel/Chronicles, c/o The Jewish Press, 4915 16th Ave., Brooklyn, N.Y. 11204. If you wish to make a contribution and help agunot, your tax-deductible donation should be sent to The Jewish Press Foundation. Please make sure to specify that it is to help agunot, as the foundation supports many worthwhile causes.


If you don't see your comment after publishing it, refresh the page.

Our comments section is intended for meaningful responses and debates in a civilized manner. We ask that you respect the fact that we are a religious Jewish website and avoid inappropriate language at all cost.

If you promote any foreign religions, gods or messiahs, lies about Israel, anti-Semitism, or advocate violence (except against terrorists), your permission to comment may be revoked.

No Responses to “Chronicles Of Crises In Our Communities”

Comments are closed.

SocialTwist Tell-a-Friend

Current Top Story
Jan Morgan, owner of the Gun Cave Indoor Shooting Range.
Arkansas Shooting Range Declares Itself Muslim-Free Zone’
Latest Sections Stories
Israeli winery

“You want to know what this wine looked like, which wine King David drank, white or red…. We can see if it’s red or white, strong or weak.”

Mindy-092614-Choc-Roll

I should be pursuing plateaus of pure and holy, but I’m busy delving and developing palatable palates instead.

Schonfeld-logo1

Brown argues that this wholehearted living must extend into our parenting.

If we truly honor the other participants in a conversation, we can support, empathize with, and even celebrate their feelings.

I witnessed the true strength of Am Yisrael during those few days.

She writes intuitively, freely, and only afterwards understands the meaning of what she has written.

“I knew it was a great idea, a win-win situation for everyone,” said Burstein.

Not knowing any better, I assumed that Molly and her mother must be voracious readers.

“I would really love my mother-in-law …if she weren’t my mother-in-law.”

For each weekly reading, Rabbi Grysman begins with a synopsis of the Torah portion, followed by a focus on a major issue.

It’s Rosh Hashanah. A new year. Time for a fresh start. Time for a new slate. Time for change.

Governor Rick Scott visited North Miami Beach/Aventura on the morning of Wednesday, September 17.

While the cost per student is higher than mainstream schools, Metzuyan Academy ESE is a priceless educational opportunity for children with special needs in South Florida.

Challah-pa-looza helped get the community ready and excited about the upcoming Jewish New Year.

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/sections/family/chronicles-of-crises/chronicles-of-crises-in-our-communities-250/2013/07/26/

Scan this QR code to visit this page online: