News Department

Morris County Prosecutor’s Office educates seniors on common tricks used by scammers

MORRISTOWN, NJ (Morris County) – Members of the Morris County Prosecutor’s Office Financial Crimes Unit, along with the Morristown Department of Public Safety, conducted a seminar on April 3 to educate residents on what they can do to recognize potential scams, and what common tactics fraudsters are using to target the 65 and over population and retirees.

The event, held at the Morristown Senior Center, was a part of the MCPO’s CAREs (Crimes Against Retired & Elderly) program.

Fraud is estimated to cost victims over $10 billion annually.

Unfortunately, senior victims frequently feel embarrassed about being scammed, and may not report their loss due to fear of losing their financial independence, said Assistant Prosecutor Christine Lopez.

Those who believed they may have been the victim of fraud should report their situation to the authorities as soon as possible, as swift action increases the likelihood of financial recovery and allows law enforcement to investigate, Detective Ryan Thomas said.

Fraudsters typically try to invoke an emotional response in their victims. For example, claiming to be a grandchild in need of bail money or asking for personal information out-of-the-blue to rectify an alleged hacking. When in doubt, verify emergencies by hanging up and reach out to loved ones directly via your saved contacts or companies using their official phone numbers.

Some of the most notable scams include:

  • Spoof bank alerts and/or package tracking links, that direct users to malicious sites that steal the personal information you type in.
  • Fake job offers/interviews.
  • Telemarketing scams.
  • Romance or friendship scams, seeking to get victims to wire money or “invest” in cryptocurrency.

AP Lopez and Det. Thomas offered tips for how to avoid becoming a victim:

  • Change the privacy settings on your social media accounts to be less public.
  • If you receive a suspicious email or text message, don’t click on or download attachments.
  • Never hold an ID or passport up to a web camera, even when asked.
  • If someone is asking for payments in wire transfers, gift cards, or cryptocurrency, it is probably a scam.
  • New Jersey does not have cash bail, so if someone claims to need money for bail, it is probably a scam.

Earlier this winter, AP Lopez and Det. Thomas conducted similar seminars around Morris County, and also participated in an informative, statewide webinar for prosecutors and investigators. This webinar was part of the New Jersey Attorney General’s Advocacy Institute training program.

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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