PITTSBURGH (KDKA) – Synagogues in the Pittsburgh area and across the country have been subject to an elaborate email scam.
Counterfeit emails that appear to come from your rabbi asking members of the gift card to go around.
And it’s all a hoax.
These thieves leverage people’s religious beliefs to get their money.
Even worse, they are doing it in the name of your rabbi.
As far as KDKA knows, no one has fallen victim to the plan here in the Pittsburgh area, but members of the faith are warned.
“Hi, how’s it going? I need your assistance,” says Rabbi Meyer’s email.
Is it really from Rabbi Meyer?
“It certainly wasn’t,” says Rabbi Aaron Meyer.
“Although, they were able to create an email spoof that made it seem quite credible as if it were.”
A fake email, made to appear to be from Rabbi Aaron Meyer of the Emanuel Temple in Mount Lebanon, has been sent to many of his faithful. Makes a shameful and bogus request.
“Each of them contained a request for money, often in the form of gift certificates,” he said. “Pretending to go for those who have undergone cancer treatments that I have visited in local hospitals.”
It’s not just Temple Emanuel. Similar patterns are underway at the Tree of Life and in temples across the country.
The Tree of Life has posted a notice on Faecbook, saying that anyone who receives these fake emails should not click on any links, respond to or take any action.
“To prey on such good people or who are doing their best by the tenants of their faith to take care of others. Using this inclination for evil is simply wrong, “he said.
The rabbis ask for money to help others. But it would never be in emails like these.
“These requests will never contain urgency. It will never be emotionally manipulative. It will never be sudden. And they will never take place via email,” he says.
How do these scammers get temple members’ email addresses?
The rabbi says he would never ask for a gift card.
The police are investigating.