By Tim Jimenez

PAULSBORO, N.J (CBS) – Officials in Gloucester County have a warning for Paulsboro residents, who are already shaken by the recent train derailment and chemical leak. They say scammers are going door-to-door.

“It is unfortunate given everything (residents) have been through recently but there are always opportunists out there,” said Lyman Barnes, Gloucester County Freeholder and Liason to Consumer Affairs.

Barnes said they had been receiving anonymous complaints about unidentified people going house-to-house in recent weeks. He said these alleged scammers would tell residents if they signed a release saying they would not file a claim over the derailment and vinyl chloride leak, they would get $800 cash.

“They were trying to obtain personal information during that process,” Barnes explained. “That could be used to compromise them for identity theft. I would expect that it very well may continue for the next several days, if not weeks, which is why we wanted to get the information out to the public.”

There is no description of the potential scammers but Barnes warns residents they should be extra cautious when answering their doors.

“Everyone should assume that, unless there are very clear credentials, for example a fireman, policeman, utility worker, it is much better to be safe. Do not allow them entry.”

He said local police officials are aware of these incidents and residents should call police if they encounter someone they are not comfortable with.

“The worst thing that will happen there is the police will come check them out and if they’re legitimate you’ll move on,” Barnes said.

If you need more information on this potential scam and others you can contact the Gloucester County Office of Consumer Affairs at 856-384-6855.

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