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A minute later, the scam artist approached him, saying his car had been towed and impounded, Dembowitz said.
“The man needed a lot of money — about $150,” he told the Forward. “I gave it to him. He looked the part, he mentioned ribes, the Jewish prohibition against loaning money at interest, even offering to pay my ATM fee, because that wasn’t interest.”
Initially, the fraudster’s request seemed like “a test, a sign from G-d,” Dembowitz wrote. “I felt great about myself, for giving to this man and coming through this ‘test.’”
But when he told friends about the “amazing” thing that had happened to him, he was told bluntly that he’d been scammed. Sure enough, his efforts to collect his debt using the phone number the man gave him came to naught.
“I haven’t heard from him in months,” he told the Forward.
Menachem Mendel, who would only agree to be quoted by his first and middle names, realized he’d been scammed after several weeks of fruitlessly trying to get his money back from the fraudster. He then reported the incident to police at Manhattan’s Midtown South precinct, but was rebuffed by detectives.
The latest scam episode reported to the Forward occurred two weeks ago inside Macy’s in Midtown Manhattan.
“He’s still texting me back and forth pretending like he’s still going to send the money,” Adina Friedlander wrote.
Contact Frimet Goldberger at firstname.lastname@example.org