Burbank, CA - Recent Email Scam Hits Jewish Clergy
Burbank, CA - Rabbi Mark Sobel was awakened Wednesday morning by calls from friends and relatives all over the country.
He was the latest victim of a scam. All of his e-mail contacts received the following message:
I’m writing this with tears in my eyes,my family and I came down here to London, United Kingdom for a short vacation. unfortunately,we were mugged at the park of the hotel where we stayed,all cash and credit card were stolen off us but luckily for us we still have our passports with us.
We’ve been to the Embassy and the Police here but they’re not helping issues at all and our flight leaves in few hours from now but we’re having problems settling the hotel bills and the hotel manager won’t let us leave until we settle the bills. Well I really need your financial assistance..Please, Let me know if you can help us out?
Am freaked out at the moment!!
None of this is true. Sobel, of Temple Beth Emet in Burbank, was at his home in the West Valley.
But since he had an extensive number of contacts, many of the people who know him might have thought he was on vacation.
In fact, he told NBCLA that one member of his congregation who lives in San Diego actually called him from the bank—she was about to wire “him” money.
Another actually sent the money, but was able to stop the Western Union transaction before it went through.
Sobel was not able to send a legitimate e-mail to his contact list, since whoever sent out the scam also wiped out his contacts.
Sobel reported the scam to both the police and the FBI. His son traced e-mails that had been sent to him and they believe they know where this latest version of the scam made have originated.
“We live in a time, as clergy, when we want to reach out and help people. But I find this doubly onerous,” Sobel said.
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