Phone and Mail Scams Targeting County's Older Residents
Woodbury: The Gloucester County Office of Consumer Protection announced today that there has been a significant increase in phone solicitation complaints into their office.
Beginning about two weeks ago phone scammers appear to have launched an all out blitz on senior citizens in Gloucester County in an attempt to get them to empty their bank accounts.
Freeholder Director Stephen M. Sweeney said, It is tragic that people have to be subjected to this type of harassment and phone fraud on such a consistent basis. I tell people, dont even talk, just hang up.
Sweeney said that hanging up is a good practice and one recommended by many in the consumer protection field. Because once you get engaged in a conversation with a scam artist, you are already in a losing battle, stated Sweeney. Do not give out any personal information over the phone no bank account numbers, social security numbers or credit card numbers to anyone who you dont know I dont think I can say it enough, especially to our older residents. It is not rude to hang up on someone who is trying to phone scam you its smart.
Freeholder William M. Krebs, liaison to the office of Consumer Protection, said These callers are professionals and once they get you to talk, they know they have someone that they can possibly get information from.
The scams have been from all over the country and outside the US and some are calling themselves Commerce Promotions which sounds like they could be Commerce Bank, but they are not affiliated with Commerce Bank. Others call themselves the U.S. Claims Department, CallCom Financial, and others dont give any business name but fictitious first names like, Mark or Scott.
The Freeholders said that one homeowner was so confused after being double-teamed by two phone scammers that they werent sure if they had given out personal information or not.
Many scams are also arriving in the mail and look like lotteries. These are not lotteries and residents are urged to discard the scam mail. These scams are hitting people at a time when folks wish they had more money for the holidays. Dont take the bait, advised Freeholder Director Sweeney.
The Gloucester County Office of Consumer Protection is asking anyone who receives a call of this nature to either hang-up immediately, or ask the person for their company name, their name and phone number then hang up before the caller can say anything else. If you are able to get that information, call Gloucester Countys Office of Consumer Protection, 856-384-6855 and they will investigate the matter and then send the relevant details to the appropriate authorities.