ELIZABETH, NJ — Over the last several weeks the Union County Prosecutor’s Office has experienced a rise in the number of complaints from residents who say they are being subjected to attempted fraud via telephone calls and Internet correspondence.
Often scammers will pose as officials asking for credit card or banking information, saying they are calling on behalf of a jailed relative, or a friend in immediate financial trouble, said Prosecutor Theodore J. Romankow.
“The scammers will talk quickly, with a sense of urgency. A kind human response is to react quickly without fully considering the facts,” said Romankow. “This is what the scammers want. The faster they can get your money the faster they can disappear, often without a trace.”
Recently an employee of the Union County Prosecutor’s Office was subject to one of these calls as was a relative of Assemblywoman Linda Stender. In both cases the scammer’s attempt to obtain money was unsuccessful.
” After witnessing this firsthand, I’m sharing what happened to highlight this reoccurring scam. Scammers prey on the elderly with tales of possible imprisonment or serious injury to a loved one. I urge anyone who suspects this scam to contact the prosecutor’s office immediately. Always beware of callers who ask for personal banking information and urge you not to discuss with other family members. ”
Prosecutor Romankow said there are simple steps that people should take so avoid being scammed.
– Never give your credit card number or bank account number over the telephone unless you have initiated the call
– Never give a telemarketer any personal information including your medical information, social security number, or driver’s license number
– Never agree to any offer until you see it in writing.
If a caller states that they are calling on behalf of a family member, first take steps to reach out to that family member or others before committing resources. Take time to carefully consider what the person is saying, ask for the name of the caller and a telephone number. If they refuse or are elusive with answers it is likely a scam.
If you feel like you have been the victim of a scam the New Jersey Division of Consumer Affairs has an office that might be able to help. Contact 1-800-242-5846 (toll free within New Jersey) 973-504-6200 Visit: www.NJConsumerAffairs.gov or Write: Division of Consumer Affairs, Consumer Service Center P.O. Box 45025 Newark, N.J. 07101