News Department

Hunterdon County Sheriff warns senior community about new sophisticated scams

HUNTERDON COUNTY, NJ – Hunterdon Count Sheriff Fred W. Brown is warning the public about new and increasingly sophisticated scam campaigns that are targeting all members of the public.

Sheriff Brown recently held an information session to nearly 90 seniors in Milford at St. Edward’s Church Parish Center about new scam tactics involving social media ads, personal email accounts, hotel and vacation rental fraud and several other fraud schemes that have become increasingly sophisticated and harder to identify.

Sheriff Brown advised Milford residents not to share personal information with anyone over the phone, including the block and lot of your personal home, your bank account information or social security number.

“Scammers will threaten those they call and attempt to intimidate people with claims of shutting-off power or gas to a home or business, or they will ask for bail money for a supposed loved one who is in jail. Scams also have been increasing across social media platforms and through emails to an individual’s personal and work accounts,” Brown said.

Recent scams include:

  • Direct Deposit payroll recipients should be aware that scammers are emailing to request updated banking information, impersonating an employer, and stating that without your response, you will not receive your pay;
  • Utility company scams that involve a threat of imminent electricity or gas shut-off, due to a claim of non-payment, which the utility company would never do;
  • A recent Facebook scam claims that a roof replacement and SOLAR program for JCP&L customers is available in Hunterdon County and asks interested people to apply directly through their social media account. It was verified by a JCP&L representative that this is a scam, and no one should apply;
  • Mortgage and deed scams which allow thieves to take out new loans or make false representations with your personal homeowner’s information;
  • Scammers will call with threats of a home foreclosure due to back taxes owed; never agree to pay over the phone or to provide banking information in order to pay the alleged back taxes;
  • Hotel guests should never agree to repeat credit card information over the phone, even if the call is from the front desk. Scammers will call the hotel and ask for a room. When the call is transferred, it looks like the call origin is from the front desk. Always insist on giving that information to a hotel employee in person;
  • Vacation rentals that ask for payment to be sent through the mail should be verified because scammers often rent properties they do not own;
  • If you receive a call that you have won a lottery, and someone asks you to send ‘good faith’ money before receiving a check, hang up immediately, this is a scam;
  • Any contractor who shows up at your home with supposed leftover materials from another job should be turned away. You typically get what you pay for.

“I continue to advise Hunterdon County residents about scams so that residents have knowledge to prevent them from becoming the next victim of a consumer scam or identity fraud. By sharing information about these ongoing scam campaigns, I hope people will be armed with the necessary information to help keep their private information, home and finances secure,” Brown said.

To view the recently published AARP informational article on how to help seniors protect themselves from scams, click here.

Always report any scam attempts to your local police department in the municipality where you live. Residents can also call the Hunterdon County Sheriff’s Office at 908-788-1166 with any questions or to report suspicious activity.

Jay Edwards

Born and raised in Northwest NJ, Jay has a degree in Communications and has had a life-long interest in local radio and various styles of music. Jay has held numerous jobs over the years such as stunt car driver, bartender, voice-over artist, traffic reporter (award winning), NY Yankee maintenance crewmember and peanut farm worker. His hobbies include mountain climbing, snowmobiling, cooking, performing stand-up comedy and he is an avid squirrel watcher. Jay has been a guest on America’s Morning Headquarters,program on The Weather Channel, and was interviewed by Sam Champion.

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