A number of Crown Heightsers are concerned over calls they have been receiving asking for urgent assistance. In many cases the caller asked for a sum of cash to help prevent him from being evicted. The kicker? The caller addresses people by first name and poses as someone they “know by face from 770.”
One of those receiving such a call said that he received the call on his cell phone after the man had first called his home phone. After telling his wife that he was going to be evicted and that he was friends with her husband, she gave him his cellphone number.
“Right from the start the call sounded fishy,” he told CrownHeights.info, “he was throwing in words and trying to sound like a Lubavitcher, but it was obvious he isn’t.”
The conversation began with a plea for money, “I am being evicted today, the marshals are coming and if I don’t come up with $190 I will be out on the street, you need to help me; we are friends and Daven in 770 together.”
“When I finally ended the conversation, I right away called a relative who told me he received the same style phone call,” he said.
A CrownHeights.info reporter called the number back and a man answered the phone with a “Shalom Alechem” and identifying himself as ‘Nosson.’ After asking who was calling, he asked “Rabbi Raichik?” and “are you returning my message?”.
The conversation did not last long, and ‘Nosson’ said this is a “confidential emergency” and would not elaborate. When he sensed that something was up, he immediately hung up.
We reached out to Crown Heights Shomrim, who have received a number of complaints regarding similar incidents. They said it appears that the caller picked up a Tzach List and is calling people from the neighborhood at random. The calls do not appear to be legitimate, and residents should be wary of any kind of unsolicited calls requesting money.
In response to a question regarding the potential criminality of the calls, a law enforcement source told CrownHeights.info that “the calls alone don’t constitute a crime, but if money was given then there can be probable cause for arrest under fraud statutes.”