NEWARK – As part of National Consumer Protection Week, Attorney General Jeffrey S. Chiesa and the New Jersey Division of Consumer Affairs today announced that the Division has developed a new Cyber Security Handbook, as well as a new Debt Collection Handbook and Understanding Debt Collection Video, as new tools in the Division’s commitment to empower consumers with the information and awareness necessary to protect themselves against fraud.
“As aggressive and unflagging as we are in our role of enforcing the laws that protect New Jersey’s consumers against fraud and abusive practices, we are just as committed to help consumers protect themselves through education and awareness,” Chiesa said. “These new resources supplement the growing library of consumer awareness materials the Division of Consumer Affairs makes available on its website, as well as the very dynamic presentations our Consumer Awareness team holds throughout the year for thousands of New Jerseyans.”
The Cyber Security Handbook includes information on protecting everything that is potentially exposed to the Internet. This includes computers, smartphones, and other devices; personal information and privacy; and consumers’ own personal safety as well as that of their families. The covered topics include “phishing” and “social engineering” – common strategies by which computer criminals seek to convince victims to unwittingly open themselves up to identity theft; protection against malware; protecting one’s personal information when using web browsers and mobile devices; and awareness about online predators and cyber bullying.
The Debt Collection Handbook (also available in Spanish) and Understanding Debt Collection Video include important information for any consumers who owe money, or who have been contacted by a debt collector about money the consumer does not believe he or she actually owes. The bottom-line advice is that, if a debt is legitimate, the consumer must pay it. However, the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act protects consumers by prohibiting debt collectors from using abusive, unfair, or deceptive practices. The Division’s creation of the Understanding Debt Collection Video was funded by a grant from the Sears Consumer Protection and Education Fund.
“The new booklets and the new video provide practical information that every consumer can use for self-protection,” Eric T. Kanefsky, Acting Director of the Division of Consumer Affairs, said. “These topics are particularly relevant today, as more and more individuals and families rely on the Internet to make purchases, and many also face the possibility of outstanding debt issues.”
Both booklets serve as companions to the FedUp Handbook (also available in Spanish) which provides a wealth of information on avoiding common scams, consumer tips when purchasing a car or hiring a contractor, awareness about investment and securities fraud, and other topics.