MONMOUTH COUNTY, NJ: National Consumer Protection Week, is March 1 through March 7. The Monmouth County Division of Consumer Affairs, along with federal, state, local government agencies and national organizations to are encouraging people and businesses to learn more about avoiding scams and understanding consumer rights.

Getting those annoying fraudulent phone calls? Some residents of Monmouth County are bombarded with them and fall into conversations or even worse; financial transactions with scam artists. What can we do? “Every day, Monmouth County residents are exposed to scam artists through their phones, email and online shopping,” said Freeholder Lillian G. Burry, liaison to the Division of Consumer Affairs. “Consumer Affairs provides educational programs, all year, to help residents protect and prevent scams before they happen.”

Freeholder Burry joined Monmouth County Consumer Affairs Director David M. Salkin last Tuesday, February 25, at the Monmouth County Library Headquarters, where Salkin in advance of National Consumer Protection Week, spoke to an audience about the sneakiest scams and ways to protect yourself from fraudsters, scam artists, cyber criminals, and bad business practices. A wide variety of topics were covered, with suggestions on how to avoid problems before they occur. 

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During National Consumer Protection Week, the Division of Consumer Affairs will be reminding residents to be aware of cyber fraud and offering steps to protect individuals from deception.

The County reminds residents to slow down and think before responding to the many phone scams that exist. “The amount of phone scams we see is incredible,” said David M. Salkin, Director of Consumer Affairs. “Social Security, IRS, Tech Support, Free Cruises and Coronavirus scams. The criminals are creative and convincing, but with some warning ahead of the call, residents can be informed about how to recognize these ‘social engineers’ who pretend to be other people.”

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The Division of Consumer Affairs offers these additional tips:

  • Only do business with reputable companies – Make sure you trust the business and it is an established organization with a credible reputation. 
  • Do not use your primary email address in online submissions – Submitting your email address could result in spam. If you do not want your primary email account flooded with unwanted messages, consider opening an additional email account for use online. 
  • Avoid submitting credit card information online. 
  • If you must shop online, devote one credit card to those purchases – Keep a minimum credit line on the account to limit the amount of charges an attacker can accumulate. 
  • Avoid using debit cards for online purchases – Credit cards usually offer some protection against identity theft and may limit the monetary amount you will be responsible for paying. Debit cards, however, do not offer that protection. 
  • Avoid allowing a website to remember your password. If your password is stored, your profile and any account information you have provided on that site are readily available if an attacker gains access to your computer.

Consumer Affairs is a law enforcement agency and the civil arm of the State Attorney General’s Office. It is created and funded by the Monmouth County Board of Chosen Freeholders and protects against consumer fraud and dishonest business practices by enforcing the state Consumer Fraud Act and many other regulations.

Additional information about cyber scams and consumer affairs programs can be found on the County website www.visitmonmouth.com, by calling 732-431-7900 or emailing consumeraffairs@co.monmouth.nj.us. The office is open weekdays from 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.