June 25, 2024

Annually, Americans lose more than $10 billion to fraudulent bank alerts, deceptive job solicitations, and other scams, Morris County officials shared with a group of senior citizens last week.

Regrettably, elderly victims often feel shame over having been scammed and hesitate to report their losses, worried about forfeiting their financial autonomy, said Assistant Prosecutor Christine Lopez.

The Financial Crimes Unit of the county Prosecutor’s Office, in collaboration with the Morristown Department of Public Safety, conducted the information session on April 3 at the Morristown Senior Center, highlighting how to identify a scam.

The attendees were issued the following advice:

Ways to Avert Being Scammed

  • Amend the privacy settings on your social media profiles to make them less accessible.
  • Avoid clicking or downloading attachments in any questionable emails or text messages.
  • Even when requested, refrain from displaying your ID or passport to a web camera.
  • If someone requests payment via wire transfers, gift cards, or cryptocurrency, it’s likely a scam.
  • Cash bail doesn’t exist in New Jersey, thus any claim of needing money for bail is likely fraud.

Scams often involve:

  • Counterfeit bank alerts or package monitoring links that redirect users to malicious websites designed to steal personal data.
  • False job proposals/interviews.
  • Telephone marketing cons.
  • Relationship or friendship scams aimed to trick victims into wiring money or investing in cryptocurrency.

The Prosecutor’s Office highlighted that scam artists often attempt to elicit emotional reactions from their prey. Some pose as a grandchild in need of financial aid; others request personal information to “correct an alleged hack.” Seniors targeted by such tactics should disconnect the call and phone loved ones directly from their stored contacts or call firms using their official phone numbers, officials recommended.

Detective Ryan Thomas encourages those who suspect they’ve been targeted by fraud to notify authorities promptly, as immediate action augments the chances of recovering funds and enables law enforcement agencies to carry out an investigation.

Gene Myers reports for NorthJersey.com and the USA TODAY Network on healthcare and mental health issues . Subscribe or activate your digital account today for unrestricted access to significant local news.

Email: myers@northjersey.com

Twitter: @myersgene