|Contact: Silvio Marcacci
TRENTON, N.J.—Reacting to recent reports about senior citizens being victimized by telemarketers fraudulently acting as Department of Health employees to gain identity information, County Executive Brian M. Hughes issued the following statement “Identity theft is a real and growing concern to Mercer County’s senior citizens. I urge seniors to treat any questionable request for information with caution and not give out any personal information from an unsolicited caller”.
The New Jersey Department of Health today notified county officials that there have been recent reports that someone claiming to be a DOH employee has called seniors notifying them that they have won a $1000 shopping spree and a health benefits card, but that they must first provide personal banking information in order to collect their prizes. The Department of Health has notified county officials that they are not calling people offering gifts of cash and prizes.
The Identity Theft Protection Act which went into effect on January 1, 2006 grants additional protections to citizens who feel they have been victimized, such as allowing them to place a security freeze on their credit files at no cost, thereby prohibiting information from being released to a third party without authorization. Additionally, consumer records must now be destroyed and Social Security numbers may not be printed on ID cards or material sent by mail.
Should any residents receive such a call in the future or if they have already received a call and given their information out, they are urged to immediately notify local law enforcement or the Mercer County Division of Consumer Affairs at 609-989-6671. Consumers may also place their numbers on the National Do Not Call Registry by calling 1-888-656-6225 or register online at www.donotcall.gov.
Additional information for avoiding telephone scams is available online at www.state.nj.us/lps/ca/brief/telescam.pdf