In the present article, based on Ottoman and Hebrew documents, we focus on people who made up fictitious stories of captivity in order to gain a living, as well as on authorities or local Jewish communities that detected and coped with those frauds in the eighteenth-century Ottoman Empire. In detecting acts of fraud, a novel method adopted by Jewish communities during the period under study was printed letters that were not available to all segments of society. Considering the vigilance of Jewish communities to root out the ploys used by their co-religionists to acquire money through deceitful means, we suggest that those communities formulated some regulations in order to validate authenticity and differentiate between the true and the fake. We argue that an efficient web of networks among early modern Jewish communities in the Mediterranean and the use of the printing press played a crucial role in certifying the truthfulness of a document or a person.
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- Ottoman Mediterranean