New Jersey Division of Consumer Affairs Offers Fraud Prevention Program for Gloucester County Seniors; "FedUp" Program Helps Seniors Protect Themselves Against Scams, Fraud, Identity Theft and More
WEST DEPTFORD - The New Jersey Division of Consumer Affairs, in partnership with the Gloucester County Office of Consumer Affairs, today brought the Division's newly revised and updated consumer fraud education program to a group of Gloucester County senior citizens.
Today's presentation of the "FedUp" Senior Fraud Education & Protection Program at the RiverWinds Community Center in West Deptford, marked the second use of the newly revised "FedUp" booklet that Attorney General Jeffrey S. Chiesa announced earlier this month.
"Five years after its initial launch, we've updated the very successful FedUp curriculum because con artists are constantly planning new ways to defraud senior citizens," Attorney General Chiesa said. "We enforce the Consumer Fraud Act when things go wrong - but, just as importantly, we're using education and outreach to help senior citizens better protect themselves and their hard-earned assets."
Each of the individuals who attended today's two-hour seminar received a free copy of the brand-new, 60-page booklet, which also can be downloaded from the Division's website:
"FedUp is a practical guide to help senior citizens - and, in fact, consumers of all ages - protect themselves when hiring a contractor, making an investment, shopping online, and engaging in other everyday marketplace activities," Sharon Joyce, Acting Director of the State Division of Consumer Affairs, said. "New Jersey's businesses, as a whole, are committed to providing services in good faith to those who pay for them. But fraud does exist and scammers often see senior citizens as a prime target. With FedUp, we help seniors stand up and protect themselves."
In 2011, consumers aged 60 or older filed approximately 1,600 complaints with the State Division of Consumer Affairs, representing about 13 percent of all complaints received.
Last year the Division of Consumer Affairs provided FedUp seminars to approximately 43,000 senior citizens and their loved ones, at 109 public events - including a well-attended, November 2011 tele-town hall event in cooperation with AARP New Jersey. Groups wishing to host a FedUp event may contact the Division's Outreach team at 973-504-6241.
Harold H. Spence, Director of the Gloucester County Office of Consumer Affairs, said, "Education and awareness are among most powerful tools we can provide Gloucester County's senior citizens and their loved ones, to help them detect fraud before it's too late. This very simple, practical guide is designed to work for everyone, and to help individuals of all walks of life enter into the marketplace with confidence."
FedUp includes important information on topics including:
- Doing Business, including hiring a contractor, purchasing a motor vehicle, and learning whether a charity is legitimate before you make a donation.
- Avoiding Common Scams, such as the "Grandparent Scam" and other impostor scams; the many types of Internet-based fraud, and sweepstakes and telemarketing scams.
- Protecting Your Identity and Credit, with important tips on how to avoid becoming a victim of identity theft; steps to take if you believe you have become a victim; and information on how to avoid being scammed while trying to repair bad credit.
- Investments and Mortgages, including a rundown of the "Top 10 Investment Scams" and frauds related to mortgages and foreclosure.
- Managing Your Health, including information on preventing prescription drug abuse, choosing a doctor, and working with in-home care providers.
Consumers who believe they have been cheated or scammed by a business, or suspect any other form of consumer abuse, can file a complaint with the State Division of Consumer Affairs by visiting its website or by calling 1-800-242-5846 (toll free within New Jersey ) or 973-504-6200.
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