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Beware of the Scams

By Angela M. Perkins

 Although many prosperous changes are taking place in Jersey City, the spirit of the “scam artist” still exists.  Community members, beware of money saving offers or deals that have not been announced through advertisements received via U.S. postal service, the news, directly from the company or through our local newspapers.  

Recently, two scam artists were on the prowl within the Greenville section community, disguising themselves as representatives from one of our local gas and electric companies.  Fortunate enough, their plot did not work on a local homeowner who was alert and used caution.   

As reported, this resident was on her porch cleaning the inside glass of her front door.  The prowlers rang her bell to gain her attention.  Because the woman could see them clearly, she exercised precaution and did not open the only door separating her from the scam artists.  The game began with the valid question of, “Ma’am would you like to learn how to save on your gas and electric bill?”  The resident explained that she was currently on a budget plan with her gas and electric company and was very satisfied with the outcome of her savings.  

When access to the inside of her house was not gained, they became very aggressive with phrases such as, “Come on Miss, don’t you want to save money?” and “We only want to come in to talk to you.”  The woman felt this was too aggressive for people trying to gain new business.  Using better judgment, she stopped her cleaning, stepped away from the front door and moved behind a door where they could only see her head as she spoke.   Her next question to the prowlers was, “Can I see your identification?”  They could not produce a valid id; they held up a copy of a gas and electric bill as a substitute for an id card.  She still did not open her door.   

While they were speaking, she took note to whether there was a commercial vehicle with the company’s logo parked nearby.  There were no cars, vans or buses in sight.  The conversation ended by the door abruptly closing.  She made sure they vacated her property and called the police.  Both caution and wisdom were utilized.  Excellent job! 

Here are a few basic tips:

  • Never open your door, even slightly.  If access is gained, it could be fatal;
  • Always ask for identification;
  • Call the company to verify whether the deal that is being offered valid and verify whether they are sending out representatives from their company to solicit business;
  • Do not entertain the company of “unknowns” showing up at your door.  The quicker you dismiss them the more likely they will go away;
  • If you are home alone, you may want to act as if someone is in the house with you by pretending you are talking to someone in your home.  You want to give the impression that someone else is in the house;
  • Never give out any personal information, i.e. telephone numbers, account numbers, times to expect you home;
  • Always call the police to report the incident; and
  • Alert your neighbors.  The more informed community members become, the less chance for the success of the scam.  News travels fast.

 Overall, community members we have to stick together.  The old saying of “there’s unity in numbers” is so true.  If we don’t unite in keeping the prowlers away from the good people that still exist in Jersey City, our communities will become overwhelmed with mistrust and fear.


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