ELIZABETH, NJ - The New Jersey Division of Consumer Affairs (NJDCA) is reminding Hilltop City seniors and all residents to be aware of phone scamming that has been reported in the area. Persons receiving phone calls involving money or personal information are advised to immediately hang up and call the NJDCA hotline at 800-242-5846 to confirm if the call is genuine or a scam.
One common scam example sees fraudsters contacting their victims by phone and claiming to be their grandchild, muffling their voice while claiming to be in serious trouble. The scammer may claim to be stranded on a trip or vacation, out of money, or about to be arrested, and begs the victim to send money immediately without notifying their parents.
Should such a call occur, those receiving the call are instructed to:
- Write down the (incoming) phone number
- Hang up
- Stay calm
- Contact family members to check if the call is genuine -- or a scam
Another recent scam involves calls allegedly coming from a government employee on behalf of Medicare or Medicaid, who will ask questions about a claim or replacement of an insurance card. The scammer will ask for personal information or data that can be used to file false reports, and steal the victim’s identity and money.
Residents who receive calls regarding an IRS lawsuit should also hang up immediately. IRS scams can be reported to the Treasury Department by using the online fraud reporting system at treasury.gov.
Union County is also advising residents that a consumer complaint has been filed against several New Jersey companies for selling wireless alert systems to seniors that failed to work or were never delivered.
For more information about consumer frauds and how to avoid them, visit the 'Anti-Fraud Toolkit', an online information hub created by the Division of Consumer Affairs at FightingFraud.nj.gov.
The Anti-Fraud Toolkit includes downloadable tip sheets in English and Spanish on avoiding consumer fraud, with a focus on scams that target seniors. It also includes the new Real-Time Fraud Alerts email network, which delivers quick, accurate information about new scams.
Union County residents are also encouraged to report possible frauds and scams to the Union County Office of Consumer Affairs. To file a complaint, visit ucnj.org/public-safety or call 908-654-9840.