Internet, mail, phone, and door-to-door scammers are all around, trying to con people out of their money. They may tell a victim that they have their family members in custody, or say that if the victim gives them a few bucks, they can collect a million dollar reward.
According to the Anti-Fraud Toolkit presented by the New Jersey Division of Consumer Affairs (DCA) at the Secaucus Senior Center on Dec. 7, these scammers frequently target people 60 and older. That’s because seniors own a home and have good credit, and are less likely to report fraud.
“This is an important time to learn about fraud, because all scams are going on during the holidays.” – Steve Lee
Steve Lee, director of the state DCA, gave the free presentation for all residents of Hudson County.
During the presentation he said, “This is an important time to learn about fraud, because all scams are going on during the holidays.”
According to the DCA’s website, www.fightingfraud.nj.gov, seniors don’t report fraud when it happens to them. “They are simply less likely to be aware of the latest scams making their way across the nation and around the state.”
After seeing the presentation, resident Makundual Desai said, “No one in my family has been scammed. I learned a lot. I thought it was good.”
Friends Carole McLeod and Wedad Youseff came from Jersey City to learn more.
“Fraud is preventable, and we have to be aware of our surroundings to avoid it,” Youseff said. “More and more funny things happen every year.”
McLeod added, “I agree, we have to learn more about it.”
“I’m always concerned about my safety anytime of the year, not just the holidays,” Youseff said, “but it’s meaningful to learn this during the holidays because it makes it more preventable. We have to be on our guard, and if my family ever goes through this, I can help them.”
“Education is key,” Lee said during the presentation. “We want to make sure all of you have what you need to fight fraud.”
Secaucus Director of Senior and Community Services Lisa Snedeker said to the seniors, “We want to keep you as informed as possible on fraud and scam.” She said that she and her mother had both fallen victim to scams.
Learning the tricks
The Anti-Fraud Toolkit is filled with information about dozens of popular scam scenarios, including fraudulent immigration enforcement calls. These immigration calls involve a scammer convincing the victim to give them money to keep a family member from being deported. In one situation explained in the toolkit, the scammer refers to himself as a U.S. customs and border patrol representative.
The toolkit is also filled with important phone numbers and online contacts to report being scammed, getting unwanted sales calls, or to assure you’re donating to a legit charity, getting home improvements done by a real contractor, or to check if you’ve been a victim of identity theft.
The DCA also recommends keeping a list of suspected scam callers, and the toolkit provides a list to record the information. To read or download the full Anti-Fraud Toolkit visit www.fightingfraud.nj.gov.
Samantha Meyers can be reached at email@example.com .