Attorney General Unveils "Anti-Fraud Toolkit," as New Jersey Division of Consumer Affairs Achieves Goal of Delivering Fraud Awareness Program to Every County in New Jersey
TRENTON - Acting Attorney General John J. Hoffman today announced the creation of a new "Anti-Fraud Toolkit" designed to protect senior citizens from falling victim to scam artists. The kit is the latest phase of the New Jersey Division of Consumer Affairs' "Fighting Fraud" awareness education campaign, which has been delivered to seniors in every county in New Jersey in 2015. The "Anti-Fraud Toolkit" will be distributed in early 2016.
The "Anti-Fraud Toolkit" will include a list of warning signs of fraud, details of the numerous scams targeting seniors, advice on dealing with unwanted phone calls, tips on distinguishing a legitimate business caller from a fraudster, and other pertinent information. Every part of the "Toolkit" will be available in PDF on the Division's website for easy access and will be created to be easily read and understood by seniors. Those who work with seniors every day – social workers, caretakers, staff at senior centers, and local and county divisions of aging – will be able to download and post anti-fraud information on bulletin boards at senior centers, retirement homes, and social clubs. In addition, alerts will be created, posted online, and distributed in hard copy to provide seniors and those who work with them "real time" updates on current frauds and scams targeting seniors in New Jersey.
Acting Attorney General Hoffman announced the initiative at a press conference at the Carslake Community Center in Bordentown, where he joined Steve Lee, Acting Director of the Division of Consumer Affairs, in presenting the "Fighting Fraud" program to local senior citizens.
"Seniors throughout our state are being relentlessly targeted by scam artists, con men, and criminals looking to steal their hard-earned retirement savings," said Acting Attorney General John J. Hoffman. "My office will continue to take fraud education directly to seniors in every county in New Jersey and now will try to put the tools to fight fraud directly in the hands of as many seniors as possible."
With today's meeting, Acting Director Lee has personally presented the educational program in each of the state's 21 counties since the proactive outreach was launched in March. These presentations will continue in 2016, in as many different counties as possible.
"Over this past year, I've met with seniors from Sussex to Cape May to personally discuss the danger of potential fraud," said Acting Director Lee. "Seniors are getting unwanted calls and letters nearly every day from scammers and criminals looking to steal their money. The creation of a simple, easy-to-use 'Anti-Fraud Toolkit' is a continuation of our efforts to educate and ultimately empower New Jersey's seniors."
The "Fighting Fraud" presentations to date have focused on the scams prevalent today and have included information on how to recognize the warning signs of a scam and the steps to take to avoid becoming a victim. These scams include bogus phone calls supposedly from the IRS, phony sweepstakes winner notifications, and calls from alleged grandchildren in need of immediate assistance in the form of wired money.
Today's presentation also included a personal story from Joan Vogel, a Pennsylvania resident who revealed how her now-deceased mother fell victim to a telemarketing scam and lost tens of thousands of dollars.
"Joan Vogel knows first-hand the heartbreak senior citizens suffer when they are defrauded of their hard-earned money," said Acting Attorney General Hoffman. "These callous con artists do more than just steal seniors' life savings. They also strip them of their dignity and sense of security. The Division of Consumer Affairs will continue to do all it can to equip the elderly to take a stand against anyone trying to victimize them."
Additional Information from the Division of Consumer Affairs:
Consumers seeking information about fraud prevention can find it by visiting the Division's "Fighting Fraud" webpage at FightingFraud.nj.gov. The website includes the "FedUp Handbook" with senior fraud education and protection information; "Consumer Briefs" on a variety of consumer protection topics; and the Division's "Cyber Safe NJ" with information on the basics of cyber safety, preventing identity theft, and controlling your privacy.
Consumers who believe they have been cheated or scammed by a business, or suspect any other form of consumer abuse, can file an
online 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.
Follow the Division of Consumer Affairs on
Facebook , and check our online calendar of upcoming
Consumer Outreach events.