Menendez Calls for Investigation of Mail Scam Targeting Hurricane Irene Flood Victims

Menendez Calls for Investigation of Mail Scam Targeting Hurricane Irene Flood Victims

Washington - Amid reports of a targeted mail scam in New Jersey designed to extract payments and private financial information from Hurricane Irene flood victims, US Senator Robert Menendez (D-NJ) today urged the US Department of Justice to open an investigation immediately and use the Department's full force to protect vulnerable victims and consumers. According to the New Jersey State's Consumer Affairs Division, under the scam, victims in New Jersey receive a false "Financial Recovery Awards" letter asking them to mail a $29.97 payment and to provide their financial information in order to process $27,000 in recovery assistance which the victims will never receive.

In a letter to Attorney General Eric Holder, Menendez wrote:

"Individuals who have suffered a natural disaster and who are already hurting, homeless and vulnerable should not be subjected to scams that target their already depleted pocketbooks. I urge you to put the full force of the Department behind an investigation of these crimes. The flooding in New Jersey is a horrible tragedy and it would be devastating to New Jersey families to forfeit more of their precious resources to these heinous scams."

FULL TEXT OF THE LETTER:

September 15, 2011

Attorney General Eric Holder
Department of Justice
950 Pennsylvania Avenue NW
Washington, D.C. 20530-0001


Dear Attorney General Holder,

I am deeply concerned about reports that Hurricane Irene victims in New Jersey are being targeted by a mail fraud scheme designed to cause further financial loss.

Homeowners in Little Falls, New Jersey have reported receiving a "Financial Recovery Awards" letter in which the "Payment Security Administration" told recipients that they will receive up to $27,500, but only if they remit a processing fee of $29.97 to an address in Canada. By sending their check or credit card information, New Jersey flood victims may expose themselves to additional withdrawals from their accounts.

As is the case during all disasters, the vast majority of New Jerseyans have joined together to help their neighbors in their time of need. Unfortunately, a small minority of individuals are trying to cash in and exploit the victims of this tragedy, and I am sure that you would agree that their actions are deplorable and must be stopped.

Individuals who have suffered a natural disaster and who are already hurting, homeless and vulnerable should not be subjected to scams that target their already depleted pocketbooks. I urge you to put the full force of the Department behind an investigation of these crimes. The flooding in New Jersey is a horrible tragedy and it would be devastating to New Jersey families to forfeit more of their precious resources to these heinous scams.

Thank you and I look forward to working with you on this matter.

Sincerely,

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