West New York and Hudson County Sheriff Join Forces to Protect and Educate Senior Citizens

By Jillian Risberg

The mayor, sheriff and assemblywoman joined together to discuss medical ID cards and illegal business practices that can lead to being defrauded — and shared with the town’s seniors how to best protect themselves from this shady type of transaction.

“They came to this country, built this country and their contributions to the community and the state are overwhelming,” says Sheriff Frank Schillari, of West New York’s seniors. “So this is the least we can do to serve our seniors, who are very important people.”

According to Mayor Gabriel Rodriguez, our seniors and those 50-years-old and up, have the ability to get a county ID with their name on it.

“Obviously their picture, and most importantly their physician’s information, their health information and an emergency contact,” the mayor says.

Medical ID cards store your most important health information in one place and could save your life in a medical emergency when you might not be able to tell first responders of your specific health condition.

“When we fall sick, sometimes we’re so nervous we forget who to contact in case of an emergency, what we’re taking, what medicines we’re currently on, what we’re allergic to,” Assemblywoman Angelica Jimenez, (D-32).

“And it (the medical ID card) tells them what’s wrong, who the doctor is, so we are honored to go all across the county to do this program,” Schillari says.

Deceptive business practices are also unfortunately rampant and West New York is doing their part to make sure the town’s seniors don’t fall victim to financial or other losses.

“I’m here representing Hudson County Office of Consumer Protection — which right now, the days, the times we’re living in there’s a lot of consumer fraud,” Jimenez says. “That’s what I’m advocating and educating our people on how to protect themselves.”

Knowing what scams are out there and recognizing the red flags can be the first step in protecting yourself.

“From identity theft, from any kind of misleading information that they might fall vulnerable to,” the assemblywoman says. “This is a very vulnerable community.”

The seniors should always ask who’s at the door, then look through the peephole and ask to see the person’s credentials. Beware: if you don’t feel comfortable – definitely don’t open the door.

“If you get a stranger that knocks on your door for information, please — even though they claim they’re from PS&G, even though they might claim their from the IRS or whatever, those are fraudulent knocks,” Jimenez says.

If the seniors do one thing in 2019 to protect themselves — getting this ID card would be it, along with making sure they protect their assets.

“We’ve been to all our senior buildings, giving them this opportunity to do this. Free, absolutely free of cost, I think is an excellent opportunity for our residents and it shows the collaboration between the municipality and the county contingency,” Rodriguez says.

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