Assemblywoman Amy Handlin and Senator Vin Gopal, in a bipartisan effort, hosted a fraud panel to educate residents on the dangers of scams and teach them how they can protect themselves.
The panel was held on Wednesday, Aug. 15 in the Warner Student Life Center at Brookdale Community College. The Legislators were joined by a panel of experts who shed light on the types of scams that target residents and shared advice for combating these malicious fraudsters. The panelists included Melanie Hazim of the New Jersey Division of Consumer Affairs, Christine Newman of AARP, Monmouth County First Assistant Prosecutor Lori Linskey and Asbury Park Press “Press on Your Side” reporter David Willis.
“In a world where everyone is connected to one type of device or another, no one is immune to scams,” said Assemblywoman Amy Handlin. “After watching my loved one be taken advantage of by scammers, I have devoted myself to educating and protecting the people of New Jersey from these selfish criminals. If even one person was spared from a scam as a result of this panel, then I have done my job.”
“This was an incredibly informative and illuminating panel,” said Senator Vin Gopal. “Scammers are relentless and crafty. They will stop at nothing to obtain your personal information or money. We as legislators have to ensure our residents are well-educated and capable of combating these scammers. I hope everyone in attendance walked away confident that they are able to protect their information and their wallets.”
Recently, Assemblywoman Handlin and Senator Gopal introduced a bill designed to combat phone scams and protect residents.
The bill (S2838/A4185) requires telecommunications service providers to warn residential customers of potential scams or other frauds committed through use of these services. Specifically, this bill requires a telecommunications company to publish a statement on every bill sent to a customer within New Jersey describing the potential for active scams that the service provider may be aware of or other types of suspected fraud that may be committed through the use of a telecommunications service.
“We have seen a steady increase in the number of scams targeting New Jersey residents, particularly our seniors. This is unacceptable and we must work to ensure we are doing everything within our power to protect New Jerseyans,” said Assemblywoman Handlin. “Telecommunications providers that benefit from New Jersey residents have a responsibility to ensure residents are informed of the dangers of potential scams. This bill is a significant step forward in protecting our residents and their private information.”
“New Jerseyans are regularly subjected to scammers looking to steal personal information or money from our hardworking residents,” said Senator Vin Gopal. “This is a serious issue that has the potential to impact everyone here in New Jersey. In establishing this requirement, we will not only protect our consumers but hold our telecommunications providers accountable as well. I look forward to working with Assemblywoman Handlin to combat this issue and protect our residents.”
The warning statement is to include information as determined by the Director of the Division of Consumer Affairs by regulation, and is to include, but not be limited to, contact information for the division and other appropriate State or federal government agency for customers of service providers to report a suspected scam or other types of fraud.