Middlesex County will hold a series of seminars designed to help senior citizens navigate a variety of legal issues, from planning their wills to protecting themselves from thefts by con artists.
Prosecutor Bruce J. Kaplan and Middlesex County Freeholder H. James Polos, chair of the county’s Law and Public Safety committee, announced the opening of the Elder Law Forum, presented by the Middlesex County Prosecutor’s Outreach and Education, or MORE unit. The series will show senior citizens how to recognize and avoid common thefts by scammers who want to steal their hard-earned money over the telephone and Internet.
The program also will offer seniors helpful information on guardianships, the preparation of wills, estate planning and probate and trusts. Attorneys from the Middlesex County Bar Association will discuss those topics.
The Elder Law Forum begins on Sept. 5, at 1 pm with a presentation at the Milltown Senior Center, 60 Violet Terrace, Milltown.
The presentation is the first of 11 that will be offered at various senior citizen centers throughout Middlesex County through December, Kaplan said.
"These presentations are designed to teach our senior citizens about the potential dangers presented by telephone and internet solicitors, whose only goal is to convince them, in a friendly but deceitful manner, to send money in return for promises of greater cash returns that will never materialize,’’ Kaplan said.
It's the goal of the MORE unit, Kaplan said, to alert senior citizens to numerous scams, so they will be able to recognize attempts to cheat them and will know the difference between a legitimate charity and an attempt by a scammer to rob them.
Common scams include instances where thieves call seniors and promise cash rewards or prizes for a shipping and handling fee. Of course, there are no prizes and the consumer loses the money sent for the prize.
Scams generally involve gaining trust through a believable and often sympathetic story that tricks consumers into parting with their money.
The MORE unit encourages consumers to be suspicious and to never give out personal information over the phone or over the internet.
In addition to the September 5 presentation at the Milltown Senior Center, Elder Law Forums will be held on:
- September 18 at the South River Office on Aging, 55 Reid Street, South River at 11 a.m.;
- October 2 at the Edison Senior Center, 2963 Woodbridge Avenue, Edison, for the benefit of the Lindeneau Senior Club, at 12:30 p.m.;
- October 12 at the North Brunswick Senior Center, 15 Linwood Place, North Brunswick, at 12:30 p.m.;
- October 13 at Helmetta Borough Hall, 56 Main Street, Helmetta, at 11 a.m.;
- October 22 at the Highland Park Senior/Youth Center, 220 South Sixth Avenue, Highland Park, at 12 p.m.;
- October 29 at the Rossmoor Club House, Ballroom 2, Rossmoor Drive, Monroe, at 2 p.m.;
- November 5 at the Edison Senior Center, 2963 Woodbridge Avenue, Edison, for the benefit of the Stelton Senior Club, at 12:30 p.m.;
- November 16 at the Perth Amboy Office on Aging, 1 Olive Street, Perth Amboy, at 10:45 p.m.;
- December 3 at the Monroe Senior Center, 1 Municipal Plaza, Monroe, at 1:30 p.m., and
- December 20 at the Old Bridge Senior Center, 1 Old Bridge Plaza, Old Bridge, at 10:30 a.m.
Senior citizen organizations interested in hosting an Elder Law Forum may contact Reginald Johnson of the Middlesex County Prosecutor’s Office at (732) 745-3300.