A young Lakewood woman has lost nearly every penny she had after falling prey to a scam today.
At approximately 1:30 PM this afternoon, a Lakewood businessman walked into a convenience store at the intersection of Route 9 and Chestnut Street, when he saw this young woman crying bitterly. When he asked her what’s wrong, she stated she had just lost almost all her money.
The approximately 20-year-old woman, an American-Israeli, moved to Lakewood approximately four months ago. Today, she received a call on her cell phone from a man who threatened her with arrest by the U.S. Marshal’s Office is she doesn’t withdraw all her money from her account and send it to them – or it could become frozen and she would lose it. The scared woman complied to their orders.
The woman was then told a taxi was ordered to her home, and she would be taken to her bank to withdraw her money.
Unable to hang up and call her husband, the terrified woman got into the taxi and headed to her bank. She withdrew every penny she had – over $9,000.
The scammer then directed to her to the convenience store at the intersection of Chestnut Street and River Avenue, where they instructed her to insert the cash into a machine which sends the converted cash to the caller via Bitcoin-type funds.
After inserting $8,100 into the machine, the woman realized something was not right – but by then it was too late. Her money was gone. That’s when she broke down crying.
“This was the worst time for this to happen,” a relative of the victim said. “She has no job, and now she’s basically penniless.” (Family members managed to put together $1,000, and deposited it to her account.)
Lakewood Police arrived, and the officers attempted to comfort the victim while investigating the incident.
[Editor’s Note: TLS has set up an online campaign for those wish to help this woman get back on her feet and recoup some of her losses. Tizku L’mitzvos.]