A week ago, I wrote about my experience with a mover’s scam. Since then, I have become aware of other pernicious scams that almost anyone can be subjected to.
First, my own experience: On Friday, I received a call that had Fordham University on the Caller ID. I was about to hang up when a man on the other line gave me his name and ID, claiming to represent ConEd. He said that they had been trying to reach me for several days to advise me that I was behind in payment for my house in Queens, and they were going to send a technician down to shut off the electricity within 40 minutes if I did not pay immediately. He gave me a number to call to make arrangements to pay and avoid the cutoff. I asked him why the Caller ID read Fordham University, and he said he is calling “from the field.”
Thanks to my experience with the movers, I now suspect everyone. So, I looked up Con Edison on their website and called the number provided. The woman on the line told me it’s an old scam and I should ignore it, as I am up to date with my payments, which was, of course, reassuring.
As a curiosity, I decided to dial the number the scammer gave me, using *67 to keep my Caller ID anonymous. That number was answered by an exact replica of the automated phone announcement that ConEd uses, including the menu and options. I pressed the option which is for questions regarding a field representative as I did to the real ConEd. Some guy answered and gave me the same story how I am behind in payments and should pay now over the phone to avoid cutoff. I told him he was a fraud, and he immediately hung up.
The fraudsters are really good at what they do. If not for my experience with the movers, I would undoubtedly have dialed the number and have made payment on the spot. This could happen to anyone. Be careful!
Then, last night, someone close to me called me to tell me of two scams that two people in the New York area have suffered. One involved an email that a fellow received advising him that he had a $390 rebate due him for a computer he bought. He thought about it and remembered he had bought a computer a while back, so he followed up on it. Unfortunately, he responded and gave them certain information they requested. In short, they cleaned out his savings, which was just about all he had. Yes, the gentleman was gullible, but it really could happen to anyone.
In another story, a seasoned businesswoman bought a new iPhone. She needed help setting it up, so she Googled “iPhone help.” Similar to what happened with me and the mover, an ad popped up first, which she thought was Apple.
Whoever answered offered to help and asked for information to view her phone which she gave them. The guy told her that he sees her Cash Pay App and promptly withdrew $500. When she saw that, she protested, but he reassured her that it was just to see if her apps were working and not to worry; they will put it back shortly.
He then started going to her Chase app, at which point she hung up the phone immediately. The $500, of course, was gone.
These stories are very scary, as they can really happen to anyone. I feel the need to publicize them to help others avoid the aggravation.
Rabbi Yoel Schonfeld
What time did you finish? That early? That late? How long was the rabbi’s speech? So long? So short? These are the queries we are consumed by. (Guilty as charged.) Have we all of a sudden become “Yeks,” strict adherents to time? Instead, we should be asking each other, “How was your kavanah when you were davening?”
On the Yamim Nora’im, we are not davening for ourselves; we are davening for others. As many people know, I find myself in a very challenging situation since my husband suffers from a progressive disease. I need to be makir tov to one person in particular (I won’t mention his name), who helped my husband maneuver into his seat. I also want to thank the young man who ran to get tissues for my husband.
I recognize the fact that I am not the only person in such a trying situation. Therefore, I am davening for all of those who have an ill spouse, parent, or child, or who are themselves sick. Let’s hope that this is our concern on Yom Kippur and not, “How long was your break?”
Congress passed and President Biden signed a continuing resolution to provide funding to keep the federal government open until December 16. This is disappointing. The annual federal government process for adoption of a new budget reminds me of “Stuck in the Middle with You” by the band Stealers Wheel. The words “Clowns to the left of me, jokers to the right, here I am stuck in the middle with you” perfectly sum up the chaos and gridlock in Washington.
Both the President and Congress need to work together, if we are going to put our fiscal house in order and deal with a $30.9-trillion long-term debt. We need to return to the time decades ago when Congress held budget hearings for each department during the summer. A real balanced budget, agency by agency, was adopted during an open process. Members of Congress, federal employees, public watchdog groups, and media were afforded sufficient time to understand the contents prior to adoption. Full federal budgets were adopted on time prior to the start of any new Federal Fiscal year on October 1.
Great Neck, New York
Once again Mr. Hecht makes the case why an Orthodox Jew cannot be a Democrat today. What they stand for is completely antithetical to a Torah way of life. Our country was founded on Judeo-Christian values. The Democratic Party has completely wiped those away.
Please see B’reishis 1:27 (G-d created male and female). Also, note Parshas Acharei Mos, the second half, which we read at Minchah on Yom Kippur. All the things that are an abomination to Hashem are listed.
The Democrats champion some of those things. This transgender movement, CRT, and white supremacy are all an eradication of morals and culture. We must look to G-d and the Torah for what’s right. May we all be inscribed in the Sefer HaChayim.
A G’mar Tov to all.