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‘It’s a Swindle’

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By Erin Ledwon

CREST HAVEN – Freeholder E. Marie Hayes, who attended an elderly fraud program presented by the Cape May County Prosecutor’s Office, said that the elderly seem to be the primary target of robocalls.
“They get them on the phone, and they trick them into giving their Social Security numbers and their Medicare numbers,” said Hayes during the Aug. 27 freeholders’ meeting.
It’s important that robocalls are reported immediately, she added, “because a lot of these people doing it are overseas, and if they can get to it quick enough they can retrieve the money back.”
During public comment, an Ocean City resident asked where calls should be reported. Hayes said residents should contact their local police department first, which should then contact the Cape May County Prosecutor’s Office.
“These calls are coming from Sea Isle (City),” said Lynne Shirk, of Sea Isle City. “How do you report that?”
“A lot of these numbers are being spoofed,” said Hayes. “You’re getting people who you think are people you know and they’re using local numbers.”
If the calls are received on a cellphone, there will be a record of it, Hayes said, which can be reported.
She recommended not answering unknown numbers. “Normally, they will not leave a message,” said Hayes. “They’ll hang up.”
Hayes noted that the no-call list is “just for legitimate companies, so all these other calls, they’re not under that, so you’re still getting these fake calls.”
“They (robocalls) drive me nuts,” said Freeholder Director Gerald Thornton. He said he had received three calls that day.
He cited a call about a Visa card, which offered 0% interest by pressing one. “It’s a swindle,” he said. 
“If Congress and the Legislature doesn’t pass laws pretty soon banning this, and get with the phone people, they should be just absolutely banned,” he added. “This is an outrage.”

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