CAMDEN, NJ — The Camden County Prosecutor's Office (CCPO) is providing guidance on the impact of COVID-19 “Stay at Home” orders on potential child abuse and dealing with scammers. 

As April is Child Abuse Prevention Month, the CCPO says it's important to maintain video check-ins with children in the event the pandemic is preventing you from seeing them in person. In said communications, adults should be aware of visible bruises, fear of talking and loss of interest in usual activities - while also being conscious of others forms of abuse such as physical, sexual or neglect to online dangers.

“Family members, teachers, counselors, and other adults are typically the people who would see the signs of child abuse and voice their concerns, so the stay-at-home order has a unique impact on the issue of child abuse,” said Acting Camden County Prosecutor Jill Mayer. “We want to help educate others and spread the word about the help still available to at-risk children.”

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The prosecutor's office said it is important to limit cell phone and internet usage.

Handling scammers

Last month, Gov. Phil Murphy signed Executive Order 107 — meaning solicitors are no longer knocking on your door. Mayer said Camden County residents should be wary of any illegitimate workers visiting you and claiming to be from PSE&G, the water company, or any other organization who needs to read a meter or "check on something."

“You can’t underestimate the lengths scammers will go to and the creativity they will show during a time like this,” added Mayer. “While the majority of people are concerned about others and are doing what’s right to keep everyone safe, there are some unscrupulous people out there who will capitalize on the vulnerable.”

Officials recommend that in the event of such a visit, do not open the door, and instead ask that they leave a pamphlet or business card with their information.   

"Again, though it is legal to approach potential customers in their homes, it is not during Executive Order 107," the prosecutors' office advised. "If a person knocks on your door and you feel unsafe, please call 911 so police can locate the person and investigate the issue."

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