Boro Park Couple Falls for Scam in Which Stranger Calls Pretending to be a Family Friend
By Yehudit Garmaise
A Boro Park couple was the victim of a scam in which a strange man called to say that he was a “family friend” who had just gotten into an accident, got arrested, and need $5,000 to be bailed out.
When a 72-year-old Boro Park woman answered the phone on Thursday, a stranger on the other end launched his plan to rope her husband into a terrible scam.
“Hi, how are you?” said the male voice on the other end of the phone. “Do you remember my voice? Do you remember who I am?”
The woman said that he sounded like a family friend named Alan. Grabbing his opportunity to assume the persona of a trusted friend, the stranger said, “Yes! It is Alan.”
“You sound a bit different,” said the Boro Park woman.
“Oh, please do not tell anyone, but I was in an accident, and I got arrested,” said the man who pretended to be her friend Alan. “By chance can you please help me? I need $5,000.”
“But, please, please do not tell a soul because I don’t want my wife, or anyone to find out what happened. Please promise that you will help me, but you will not tell anyone!”
So being a trusting soul, the woman told her husband that their friend Alan was in terrible trouble, needed their help, but that they could not tell anyone, not even their children, what had happened.
Fearing for their good friend, “Alan,” the woman’s husband called back the number the stranger gave to his wife, and asked how he could help.
When he was told to bring the first $1,500 of the $5,000 to a friend of Alan’s in Manhattan, the Boro Park man hired a car service, and headed across the Brooklyn Bridge to an agreed upon address.
But once in Manhattan, the Boro Park man again called “Alan,” who told him, “Actually, I am sorry, can you please tell me your home address, and my friend will come to Brooklyn and pick up the cash.”
So after heading back to Brooklyn in a car trip that cost $250, the Boro Park man asked his son-in-law to wait with him in front of his house to provide the $1,500 to the friend of “Alan.”
Finally, “Alan’s friend” appeared, and the Boro Park man handed over $1,500. After the stranger drove away, finally the Boro Park man’s son-in-law persuaded him to reveal the entire story of what had just happened.
Immediately realizing that they had been scammed, the son-in-law called BoroPark24’s Heshy Rubinstein, a Shomrim volunteer, who in turn, called a particularly knowledgeable Shomrim coordinator who directed Shomrim members to canvass the area for closed-circuit camera footage. After compiling and examining the evidence, Shomirim volunteers called to file a police report with the NYPD, which is now investigating the case.
Just as the IRS or Social Security does not call Americans to find out personal information or ask for money, when strangers call with strange stories, Boro Parkers should remember not to engage in any conversation and should simply hang up their phones immediately.
Children should take care to educate their parents to be careful and alert of anyone who might be preying on their trust and helpful natures, said an onlooker to the crime.
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