“New Jersey’s senior citizens, like their peers across the country, are being targeted relentlessly by con artists who see them as easy marks,” said Acting Attorney General Porrino. “The Office of Attorney General is determined to be just as relentless in making sure our senior citizens are armed with the tools they need to fight back against these criminals.”
The Anti-Fraud Toolkit mixes up-to-the-minute information and old-fashioned common sense to help seniors recognize and avoid common scams being played on them. The Toolkit also offers advice on dealing with unwanted solicitations, provides tips on distinguishing legitimate businesses from clever hoaxes, and delivers real-time “Fraud Alerts” on new scams making the rounds in New Jersey.
“Education and awareness are by far the most effective tools for fighting fraud,” Steve Lee, Director of the New Jersey Division of Consumer Affairs. “Our goal is to put this Toolkit into the hands of seniors from Sussex to Cape May counties so they’re prepared to spot and prevent fraud before they become victims.”
Financial crimes against senior citizens are on the rise nationwide, netting $2.6 billion a year and hitting one in five people in the age group. To help protect New Jersey’s older consumers, the Division launched its ambitious "Fighting Fraud" campaign in 2015. The public awareness initiative included a series of interactive educational programs presented by Director Lee in all twenty-one counties in New Jersey.
The Anti-Fraud Toolkit is a continuation of that educational effort, this time with a mechanism to reach seniors through those who work with them on a daily basis. Every part of the Toolkit is available in PDF on the Division’s website, making it easy for social workers, caretakers, staff at senior centers, and local and county divisions of aging to download and post anti-fraud information on bulletin boards at senior centers, retirement homes, and social clubs. Additionally, as part of this Toolkit, the Division has created a state-wide email network for distribution of urgent “Fraud Alerts” that are meant to provide “real time” updates on scams and frauds that seniors and those that work with seniors are encountering in their daily lives.
"Financial fraud doesn’t just cheat senior citizens out of their money, it robs them of their dignity and sense of security,” said Director Lee. “The Division of Consumer Affairs will continue to do all it can to empower the elderly to stand up and fight back.”
The Anti-Fraud Toolkit can be accessed online at FightingFraud.nj.gov.
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.