| For a current list of New Jersey Consumer Alerts
Please note, as of April 1, 2011, the Atlantic County Division of Consumer Affairs has been eliminated. Residents may contact the New Jersey Division of Consumer Affairs, Office of Consumer Protection, toll free, at 1-800-242-5846 or visit www.njconsumeraffairs.gov for more information or to file a complaint.
CLICK HERE for the New Jersey Division of Consumer Affairs, Office of Consumer Protection complaint FORMS.
How can you Protect Yourself
There are ten basic steps that citizens can follow to protect
themselves from being conned.
1. Check with Officials - Contact local chambers of commerce, better business bureaus,
or the local police department before entering into any major contract
or whenever in doubt.
2. Learn about different types of fraud and how to avoid it - Listen
to consumer advocates on television and radio. read local newspapers
with an eye to news stories regarding reports of fraud and questionable
business practices. Education is the best defense against fraud.
3. Shop Around - Visit several businesses or talk to several sales
representatives before making a major purchase. This is especially important
if you feel you are receiving undue pressure to complete the deal. Get
references, compare prices, and check performance claims.
4. Don't sign anything you don't understand - If necessary check with a lawyer
5. Whenever possible deal with local, well established firms.
6. Avoid Door to Door Salesman - Avoid doing business with salesman who appear
at your door unsolicited.
7.Verify the sales or service representative is what he claims - Ask for identification
and verify it if you feel uncertain.
8. Never do unsolicited business over the telephone.
9. Never pay for services for which you are not completely satisfied.
10. Be extremely skeptical of any offer that sounds too good to be true. They
11. Protect Your Identity. CLICK
HERE for information from the State of
New Jersey Identify Theft page. For a quick 2 page overview of Identity
Theft CLICK HERE*
(*Adobe Acrobat Reader Req. CLICK
a free copy of the reader).
What to do if you are Victimized:
There are five things you can do if you feel you have been defrauded.
First and Foremost - COMPLAIN!
1. Notify the New Jersey Division of Consumer Affairs and if necessary, the Police Department.
2. Don't feel embarrassed - Tell the whole story so that the scheme can be
identified, the culprits apprehended and the victimizing of others avoided.
3. If you paid by check, stop payment immediately.
4. If you paid by Credit Card you have 60 days to dispute charges.
with law enforcement agencies
6. Save any evidence such as receipts,
cancelled checks or the product itself.
The 10 Most Common Frauds Against
Senior citizens are especially vulnerable to consumer fraud. The following
are 10 very common categories of fraud where seniors should pay particular
attention when conducting business.
1. Medical Frauds - Senior citizens are much more likely to suffer from chronic
ailments and health problems. As a result they are more vulnerable to quacks,
miracle cures, hospital frauds, aging cures, and a variety of other medical
frauds. Medical frauds can have very serious health consequences for older
2. Home Improvement Frauds - Phony repairmen often appear at a victims door
posing as a city official or claiming to have been referred by a neighbor.
The quickly note some serious flaw in the house requiring immediate repair.
They generally specialize in roofing siding, insulation, chimney repairs, driveway
sealing, and wet basements. They promise quick service at bargain prices. They
often take a large downpayment and never return.
3. Bunco Schemes - Senior Citizens are often targeted for swindling schemes
and confidence games. The most common variation is known as the pigeon
drop. An older person is approached by strangers who claim to have found
a large bag containing cash. Through a series of deceptions the victim
is convinced to put up "good faith" money
to share in the find. The victim is asked to place the money in a purse
for safekeeping. In the final deception the victim is distracted and the
parcel containing his money is switched.
4. Insurance Frauds - The most common type of insurance fraud targeted to seniors
involve medigap insurance. This insurance is said to cover gaps in medicare
coverage. Consumers should read these policies carefully and seek more information
5. Charity Frauds - These frauds are particularly heinous because they exploit
a person's generous nature and willingness to help others. The most frequent
types involve bogus charities or religious groups, misrepresentation of association
with those charities and misrepresentation of how contributions will be used.
6. Housing and Land Frauds - In this type of fraud, advertisements are targeted
to unwary seniors designed to persuade them to buy property sight unseen. The
property often turns out to be unusable. Some frauds specifically target time
sharing properties, vacation homes and retirement homes.
7. Business and Investment Opportunity Frauds - For the elderly, retirees,
and others living on a fixed income, business and investment frauds are a powerful
attraction. For a relatively modest amount, the victim is offered the promise
of great returns. Work at home schemes are another fraud that takes advantage
of an elderly person's need to augment a limited income.
8. Nursing Home Frauds - Senior Citizens are sometimes conned into paying
fee" to purchase a place in a Medicaid facility, overcharged for specific
services, defrauded out of personal funds, and forced to pay extra for
services and supplies that should be included in the nursing home's regular
9. Automobile Frauds - Automobile frauds usually consist of artificially increasing
the dealer's profit margin, misrepresenting the car's performance or history,
or substituting a similar car with fewer options for the one purchased.
10. Funeral frauds exploit a family's vulnerability during a time of grief.
They take advantage of a family's desire to provide the best possible care
for the deceased. Common abuses include unauthorized removal of remains from
a hospital or nursing home by a funeral director not enlisted by the family
and charges for costs such as flowers and obituary notices which were not disclosed
when costs were initially discussed.
NJ Do Not Call List
To register phones, go to http://www.donotcall.gov or call 1-888-382-1222.
To file a complaint about a violation of the state’s Do Not Call law, contact the Division at http://www.njconsumeraffairs.gov/donotcall/dnconlinefrm.htm or at
1-800-242-5846 (toll-free within N.J.) or 973-504-6200.
Press Release: September 1, 2009
Federal Ban on “Robocalls” Begins Today
NEWARK - New Jersey Division of Consumer Affairs Director David Szuchman today reminded residents that a federal ban on prerecorded commercial telemarketing calls - known as “robocalls” - begins today, under a Federal Trade Commission (FTC) rule.
Robocalls cannot be placed to consumers unless the telemarketer has obtained permission in writing from those who want to receive such calls, under the FTC’s rule. Robocalls are permitted from charitable organizations and political organizations, as is currently allowed under the state’s Do Not Call law.
Consumers who receive robocalls may file complaints with the FTC at http://www.donotcall.gov or by calling 1-888-382-1222.
Identity Theft is the fraudulent use of your name and identifying data and
occurs when your personal information is used for someone elses' financial
gain. CLICK HERE for
information from the State of New Jersey Identify Theft page. For a quick
2 page overview of Identity Theft & Phishing CLICK
HERE* (*Adobe Acrobat Reader Req. CLICK
HERE for a free copy of the reader).
Phishing is an illicit scheme where a potential perpetrator attempts to
trick people into revealing their personal and financial information by pretending
to be from a legitimate company, agency or organization. Phishing can occur
by email or phone and can be extremely sophisticated and convincing. CLICK
HERE to view information on Phishing available on New Jersey's Consumer Affairs
web site. For more information CLICK HERE to
go to Phishinginfo.org. For a quick
2 page overview of Identity Theft &
HERE* (*Adobe Acrobat Reader Req. CLICK
HERE for a free copy of the reader).