Tomchei Tzedakah Issues Check Fraud Alert

Tomchei Tzedakah submitted the following alert to TLS. Tomchei Tzedakah just received a call from someone in Lakewood: $7300 was withdrawn from his account – this past Motzoei Shabbos he had written a much smaller check to someone that had come to his door and the check had been altered and cashed. We then received another call with almost the exact same story – this time for $8700.

At this point we have very little additional information and are investigating. Please check your bank accounts and take whatever precautions you can.

Please feel free to email us at [email protected] or call us at 732-367-7770 or at 848-210-5188 if you have any information that may be useful or if you have also been victimized. TLS.

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  1. Assuming this individual had an ishur, it would help if Tomchei Tzedakah would keep a picture of all applicants on file- would help in figuring out who it was.

  2. It is pretty random because just the other day someone came to my door collecting and although he looked and dressed frum he seemed nervous and shady. Well I asked him for his ishur and he pulled one out but it didn’t have a picture so I asked him where his picture is he said oh they don’t give them out anymore. Anyways I gave him some money but after he left I realized the date it was valid was expired by a good 2 weeks. Now that doesn’t necesarly mean he was the person doing this check fraud and he could’ve been legit And needed the money but I’ve been more cautious with who i give too esp after seeing a few of these suspect “meshulachim”over the past few months and what stories have been going around. Now of course there are more good meshulachim than fraudsters but the system needs to be investigated as to how easy it is to get an ishur and how many people actually check and validate a meshulachs ishur. Hatzlacha to everyone

  3. Its very simple, check the date and do not give to someone who’s Ishur expired.

    If the Ishur expired, there is a very good chance that he BOUGHT the Ishur off of someone, and that he is a fraud.


    The Ishur is for a good reason.

  4. To Yid. your information and advice is spot on and i appreciate it. however i always told myself, check the ishur and if it is a valid ishur and the person is a legitimate “onie” i always give whatever i can. the problem is im a human and a yid and even if soalid ishurmeone presents an expired ishur it is very hard to turn them away even though it is the right thing. so what i am suggesting is more awareness on residents and especially to the tomchie tzedaka to create a stigma for someone who doesnt have a valid ishur so it wouldnt be common for a meshulach to collect without one. but the attitude now is an ishur is good but if a guy looks poor and has peyes then he doesnt need always need an ishur. which leads to the fraudsters taking advantage of peoples natural rachmnus.
    so all in all what you said is right but it would be nicer if i didnt have to turn away a bunch of non ishur collectors if the system would be taken more seriously

  5. when ever i write a check i make sure that there is no space left for anyone to change the numbers. in the box were you write the amount i write the numbers very big and on the line i write the number and make a big line until the end of the check that why there is no room to change the check amounts in both places

  6. Was it cashed or deposited? The check was cashed somewhere where there is a camera. So there’s a face associated with it. The check is in the possession of the bank and there are prints on it. But he has no priors and hasn’t been fingerprinted for a job. Pus it has to be examined and evaluated according to the UCC guidelines for who is responsible. If you guessed its not the crook, you’re right. The person likely has a fake driver’s license or other ID and to go along with the fake Ishur. After the bank its a quick stop at the motel for a shave and then hop over to Western Union and then to the airport. More video from the airports. No hat or beard. A fun investigation with the crook in a foreign country, good luck in catching this guy. Sounds planned to me for a quick fifteen grand and a one way plane ticket. Gonna need some singing birds and rats. Hope the check wirter passes the UCC rules and gets his money back and learns his lesson. Do not leave any empty space on the check and press hard or else YOU will be the one responsible for the loss and not the bank. At least let the bank pay for his vacation.

  7. I suggest to Tomchai Tzedaka that Ishurim be printed front and back so that even when they are folded the information is visible.

    Also, regarding the red stamp that is used to identify someone who does or does not pledge to use an approved driver, why not use a different colored Ishur (burgundy, yellow) so that it will be more easily identifiable?

  8. 1. If Tomchei’s Rabbinical Advisory Board were to come out and say unequivocally that it is assur to give money to anyone with an expired, missing picture, or altered ishur, your yiddishe rachmonus’ doesn’t come into play.
    2. Ishurim must be numbered, and you MUST write the ishur number on the check.
    Fraudsters must know that they’ll be cought even when they leave Lakewood and head to other neighborhoods!

  9. Give then jobs . Let Tzedukkah organizations verify through the vast network of “ehrlich” Jews to validate these stories. Have the money channeled properly and you won’t have so many actors on the stage. The shame is that there are probably 40 to 50% of these Meshuluchim that are legit.

  10. I spoke to the 7300 guy he had written a check for 36.00 to a local charity[tax deductable, cash won’t do that]. His check was then photoshopped & written to same services company for the 7300.00 & cashed. The bank reversed it, but itwas a headache, I guess the state or feds may just catch the guy.
    As for expired Ishurim without pictures. The Meshulach could have left it on the table or in the garbage in Shul the day he left.

  11. you don’t know if this meshulach is a fraud. It could be, he just paid for something with this check and new recepient of your check commiited the abovementioned fraud. In Lakewood, checks are like a currency.

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