Security Experts Warn About Ongoing WhatsApp Scam

An impersonator claiming to be a frum Yid has been joining WhatsApp groups to harvest phone numbers and call asking for tzedaka. He is actually a Christian cult member. 

By Anash.org reporter

Security experts are sounding the alarm about an impersonator involved in a WhatsApp scam targeting thousands of Jewish people.

The scam involved an individual who goes by the name of Edaan Brook. This individual, who changes numbers frequently, joins Jewish WhatsApp groups to harvest phone numbers. He then private messages or calls others in the group, stating he “needs help for Shabbos”, or is close to finding housing, or has recently lost his job.

Being that Brook is well acquainted with Hebrew terms and Jewish traditions, he can easily come across as an observant Jew, and many have fallen prey to his false accounts. According to victims, he has at times claimed to be a Lubavitcher, other times a Breslover, and other identities as well, based on the WhatsApp group he infiltrated.

According to one Lubavitcher who spoke to Anash.org but asked not to be identified, Brook can come off as convincing. “He sounded like someone who perhaps didn’t grow up as frum, but knew the right ‘lingo’ for me to believe he was frum today,” he said.

“I received a call a few months ago on an Erev Shabbos. The man said his name was Edan and that we are on a WhatsApp group together. He told me he was in a dire financial situation and he was doing his hishtadlus by calling to collect money. He knew exactly what to say. “

The Lubavitcher transferred $240 to Brook and only found out later that he was a con artist.

In truth, however, Brook is a self-acknowledged member of a Christian organization that describes itself as a cult, and Brook himself goes by a moniker that references Yoshke.

Ongoing for over a year, the scam has recently attracted the attention of official security organizations, who have begun warning about it. The Jewish Community Security Network, which is under the auspices of the Jewish Federation of of North America and the Conference of Presidents of Major American Jewish Organizations, recently posted a community security alert regarding the scam.

The alert was issued by Tim Torell, the director of the Jewish Community Security Network. Torell spoke to Anash.org this past week about the issue and the proper way to respond.

“It is illegal to solicit funds under a false premise, and doing so is a crime even if no money actually passes hands,” he said. “As such, anyone who was contacted is able to take action to help stop this from continuing.”

“The best way to deal with this issue is for those who were contacted to file a police report,” he said. “It is up to the police how to deal with this, and litigation can be long and tiring, but as the saying goes ‘the squeaky wheel gets the oil’, and if attention is drawn to this ongoing scam, action will be taken sooner than later.”

Discussion
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  1. I was scammed by him about 6 months ago. I wasn’t sure if he was faking, but I decided to give him $36 anyway.
    Thank you for posting on anash.org

  2. Received calls from him over a year ago and then again last week. He was claiming to be on the the same whatsapp group call “inside chassidus”. Bh I never gave him anything, just listened to what he had to say and asked for method to send him money.

    This time he was calling from +14705790414

    His cashapp ID is $edaan

  3. He called me asking for money for his house. He said we were on the same whatsapp group. I just listened then hung up and blocked him straight away. Seemed suspicious.

  4. Edaan Brook is Jewish. The Yoshke reference in his YouTube account is just a pseudonym for his screen name.
    His father is a Wikipedia-famous Israeli-American philosopher,
    Yaron Brook.

    Ari Rosman

  5. It’s time to require a “Hechsher” on fundraisers. There a so many scams. There only way is to have a recognized website vetting each fundraiser.

  6. He called me using all the above techniques hours before Yom Kippur. I had no time to check whether his story was true, how could I take a chance that Jews would lose their home the next day?
    I sent him $200 via cash app while he was on the phone. Lesson learned.

  7. He actually called me last night saying that he needed $200 to make his mortgage payment. Didn’t send him Bh.

  8. Edaan Brooke Called me Saying he got my name And number from a Breslov group . He asked for money to keep from getting thrown out of his rental house. I took him at this word and sent him a check. It appears that he gave me a false address because he says he never got the check. He calls me back. Sometimes but I no longer answer the phone.

  9. I received a call 2 weeks ago saying that they are late on their “home payments” and are afraid of being kicked out of their home with his family. He definitely knew the lingo, and fully sounded like a frum yid. I had told him I’d give $26 (something I give if I’m unsure of the organization/person are legitimate) and after doing more research learned it was a scam. Be careful

  10. He scammed me back in June ’22. Said that we were both in Rabbi Shmuel Zucker’s WhatsApp group, and needed some help to get back on his feet. I gave him $18. Very frustrated. I reported it to PayPal.

  11. His famous daddy could be contacted and/or visited and asked to sort his son out and the people he’s scammed

  12. He actually comfortably uses names of trusted Rabbis and will tell people that he got their number from the Rabbi. A few people called my husband to ask about him because he was using my husband’s name. Do your homework before sending anyone that you don’t know any money!

  13. Just received a phone call from this dispute scammer after shabbos. I checked the number was him . Blocked him and reported . Please don’t answer copy number and search in Google

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