Gloucester County celebrates National Consumer Protection Week
March 4, 2019
Woodbury – In honor of National Consumer Protection Week, March 3 through 9, the Gloucester County Board of Chosen Freeholders, the Gloucester County Office of Consumer Protection, and the Federal Trade Commission are sharing ideas on the best way to protect oneself against scams.
Freeholder Director Robert Damminger stated that “The Office of Consumer Protection is always one of the county’s most active departments. I urge residents to take advantage of the free advice and guidance in most areas of consumer law that the office can provide.”
Damminger said that the County Office of Consumer Affairs and Weights and Measures works tirelessly throughout the year educating and sharing information with the public in a variety of ways. They can offer ideas on the best ways to protect you and your family against various scams.
The Office of Weights and Measures inspects businesses every day, from the local farm market to make sure their scales are accurate, to the corner service station to ensure you are getting what it says on the pump.
The Office of Consumer Affairs handles complaints against home improvement contractors and makes sure they are registered as required by state law. They can also look into complaints regarding pet purchases, used car sales, furniture sales and many other types of purchases made every day by local consumers.
Freeholder Lyman Barnes, Liaison to the Consumer Protection, said, “I have been out with office staff including the annual High School Consumer Bowl, and the yearly Big Shredding Event and have also observed the Office of Weights and Measures during their inspection of county fuel delivery trucks.”
“Our residents are fortunate to have a committed group of employees that keep us alert of identity theft scams, scams targeted at senior citizens, and more,” stated Barnes.
As a reminder to residents and businesses, the Office of Weights and Measures has moved to Clayton and the Office of Consumer Affairs remains at the Shady Lane Complex. For information visit www.gloucestercountynj.gov or call 856-384-6855.
December 10, 2018 - Beware of Smart Toys
As the holiday season unfolds and you are shopping for gifts for young children, heed these warnings. In this past weekends Philadelphia Inquirer, staff writer Christian Hetrick ,has written an insightful article titled "Toys too smart for our own good". The column points out serious flaws in "smart toys" that are internet connected and are sometimes equipped with microphones, cameras and the ability to collect reams of data about children. "Internet to Things" "technology that has wireless connected coffeemakers, thermostats, and yes, toilets". The writer states that "smart toys have proven to be particularly vulnerable to cyber attacks". The article goes onto quote a Consumer Reports cybersecurity editor stating "Toys are basically the poster child for bad security in Internet of Things (IoT).
Last year German officials labeled an innocent-looking smart doll, My Friend Cayla, an illegal "espionage device" and asked parents to disable it. The blond, childlike doll recorded conversations, translated them to text, and shared data with third parties, according to a complaint filed in 2016.
The bottom line here is that parents and gift givers need to be extra careful when purchasing and using these types of devices that can use technology to learn and person's birthdate, find out where they live, and worse of all, collect information about your child and even record their voice. I suggest you find this article by Christian Hetrick, or make sure you are aware of the risks when using these devices.
December 4, 2018
Please be advised that effective this date, although they are still a division of Consumer Protection, the Gloucester County Office of Weights and Measures has moved to 1200 North Delsea Drive, Clayton, NJ 08312, which is a county complex. Most of you may know it as where the County Animal Shelter is located. The phone number is 856-307-6611 and is managed by Superintendent Robert Pandola.
If you have any questions or feel you may have a Weights and Measures complaint, please feel free to contact Mr. Pandola at the above number.
Any county resident who may have questions, please feel free to contact me at Consumer Protection, 856-384-6855.