HUNTERDON COUNTY, NJ – Hunterdon County Sheriff Fred W. Brown has issued a scam warning about fraudulent claims on social media regarding a series of nonexistent craft fairs and vendor booths at the county Fairgrounds in East Amwell Township.
“We are warning the public to beware of these scams. After researching the social media advertised events, at the behest of the County Parks Division, our team determined that the advertisements for the Autumn, Thanksgiving and Christmas Fairs at South County Park are illegitimate. The claims on social media are false and none of these events have been planned at the county’s Fairgrounds,” Brown said.
Sheriff Brown recently received this information about an organization advertising three separate craft sale events at the county Fairgrounds, with dates in November and December, asking vendors to send payments in to participate and warns residents not to send payment or engage in conversation with organizers, either on the phone or through email.
The Fairground advertisement instructs vendors to email the organizer and obtain instructions for the events. When the email is received, potential vendors are instructed to submit an application and then provide payment electronically.
“The emailed instructions are very detailed and at the bottom of the email is a link to a website address for the application, along with a link to submit payment electronically. Included in the email is a statement that no refunds will be made unless that cancellation is made by the event organizer,” Brown said.
Nationwide, there have been reports of vendor and craft scams from local media outlets. The Better Business Bureau (BBB) has reported that fake events skyrocketed during the pandemic and instructs consumers to verify business websites and phone numbers and to check the BBB website for complaints before doing business with anyone.
Scammers are very convincing, often including specific details to make their advertisement, offer or threat, seem legitimate.
“Scams have been on the rise and they strike when people are at their most vulnerable, during a pandemic or after a natural disaster, or during the holidays. Residents should do their homework and research a company before sending money to anyone. Call your local law enforcement with any suspicions and remember that a legitimate company will have a real telephone number and physical address and any business that makes contacting them difficult should not be trusted,” Brown said.
Sheriff Brown asks anyone who sees the County Fairgrounds Craft Ad on social media to report it to the Better Business Bureau and the Federal Trade Commission.