Beware of COVID-19 vaccine scams

FREEHOLD – Monmouth County Prosecutor Christopher J. Gramiccioni is urging residents to beware of becoming victims of COVID-related scams, especially those scams targeting senior and elderly residents.

During this COVID-19 pandemic, scams targeting citizens, in particular the elderly, have taken a new twist and a new sense of urgency. Con artists are calling senior citizens offering early access to the COVID-19 vaccine for some form of payment, offering to ship the vaccine directly to you for a deposit or fee, offering to place you on a waiting list, or offering added medical testing and treatment when obtaining the vaccine. The offers come from scammers pretending to be a doctor’s office, insurance company or COVID-19 vaccine center. The scammer will ask for personal or medical information to determine if you “qualify” for the vaccine. Information sought will often include a social security number, Medicare ID number, date of birth, credit card or bank account information, or other personal information.

“We live in a world where scammers will try anything to get your personal information, medical information, and even your life’s savings using devious tactics. They are willing to pretend to be anyone just to take advantage of you. Please be vigilant – if it seems questionable, then trust your instincts that it is,” warned Prosecutor Gramiccioni.

Other scams are found on social media platforms like Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and other popular platforms showing ads from unknown sources advertising access to the COVID-19 vaccine. Federal authorities have created a public awareness campaign that includes useful information below to help identify these scams and where to find other information about the schemes.

“The most important piece of advice during this unusual time is to be overly skeptical of any unsolicited offers of any kind, to stay vigilant no matter how convincing the voice on the other side of the phone may be. Just because it is on the internet does not make it safe or true. Do not share personally identifiable information ever over the phone – social security numbers, Medicare ID numbers, your date of birth, credit card or bank account information – obtaining this information to defraud you is the ultimate objective,” Prosecutor Gramiccioni added.

Federal authorities are warning the public about several emerging fraud schemes related to COVID-19 vaccines after receiving complaints of scammers using the public’s interest in COVID-19 vaccines to obtain personally identifiable information and money through various schemes. We continue to work diligently with law enforcement partners and the private sector to identify cyber threats and fraud in all forms.

The public should be aware of the following potential indicators of fraudulent activity:

• Advertisements or offers for early access to a vaccine upon payment of a deposit or fee

• Requests asking you to pay out of pocket to obtain the vaccine or to put your name on a COVID-19 vaccine waiting list

• Offers to undergo additional medical testing or procedures when obtaining a vaccine

• Marketers offering to sell and/or ship doses of a vaccine, domestically or internationally, in exchange for payment of a deposit or fee

• Unsolicited emails, telephone calls, or personal contact from someone claiming to be from a medical office, insurance company, or COVID-19 vaccine center requesting personal and/or medical information to determine recipients’ eligibility to participate in clinical vaccine trials or obtain the vaccine

• Claims of Food and Drug Administration approval for a vaccine that cannot be verified

• Advertisements for vaccines through social media platforms, email, telephone calls, online, or from unsolicited/unknown sources

• Individuals contacting you in person, by phone, or by email to tell you the government or government officials require you to receive a COVID-19 vaccine

Tips to avoid COVID-19 vaccine-related fraud:

• Consult your state’s health department website for up-to-date information about authorized vaccine distribution channels and only obtaining a vaccine through such channels.

• Check the Food and Drug Administration’s website (fda.gov) for current information about vaccine emergency use authorizations.

• Consult your primary care physician before undergoing any vaccination.

• Don’t share your personal or health information with anyone other than known and trusted medical professionals.

• Check your medical bills and insurance explanation of benefits (EOBs) for any suspicious claims and promptly reporting any errors to your health insurance provider.

• Follow guidance and recommendations from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and other trusted medical professionals.

General online/cyber fraud prevention techniques:

• Verify the spelling of web addresses, websites, and email addresses that look trustworthy but may be imitations of legitimate websites.

• Ensure operating systems and applications are updated to the most current versions.

• Update anti-malware and anti-virus software and conduct regular network scans.

• Do not enable macros on documents downloaded from an email unless necessary and after ensuring the file is not malicious.

• Do not communicate with or open emails, attachments, or links from unknown individuals.

• Never provide personal information of any sort via email; be aware that many emails requesting your personal information may appear to be legitimate.

• Use strong two-factor authentication if possible, using biometrics, hardware tokens, or authentication apps.

• Disable or remove unneeded software applications.

If you believe you have been the victim of a COVID-19 fraud, immediately report it to your local police department.

Patricia C. ‘Cathy’ Dalton, 53, passes

Patricia C. “Cathy” Dalton, 53, passed away on January 10, 2021. Cathy was born on March 10, 1967 to Lynne (Raymond) and Frank Dalton in Long Branch, NJ. She graduated Long Branch High School, Class of 1985 and worked for the City of Long Branch for five years, and then at the Monmouth County SPCA for a short period, before moving to Jacksonville, FL in 2002.
After many years there, she ended up living in Missouri.
Cathy is predeceased by her father, Frank, but leaves her mother and stepfather, Lynne and Bill James (Punta Gorda, FL), and various aunts, uncles and cousins.

In lieu of flowers, donations are requested at the GoFundMe Campaign Page “Cathy’s Cancer – Punta Gorda.”

GoFundMe, https://www.gofundme.com/f/27ftzv13w0?sharetype=teams&member=6998330&utm_medium=email&utm_source=customer&utm_campaign=p_na+share-sheet&rcid=b7fb065a47954663826cb3c98e26d8d8

Monmouth County has 372 additional positive cases of COVID-19

FREEHOLD, NJ – Monmouth County Commissioner Director Thomas A. Arnone and County Commissioner Deputy Director Susan M. Kiley have announced that today, Jan. 19, there are 372 new positive cases of COVID-19 in Monmouth County. There are six new deaths being reported today related to COVID-19 in Monmouth County.

The County Commissioners and the Monmouth County Health Department (MCHD) are strongly urging residents to do their part to slow the spread by practicing social distancing, wearing a face covering when social distancing is not possible, not gathering in large crowds, washing their hands and staying home when sick.

In comparison to the number of new positive cases in all 21 counties in New Jersey, Monmouth County is currently ranked second in the State.

To date, the total number of positive COVID-19 cases in Monmouth County since March is 40,365. As of Jan. 19, there are 452 hospitalized, 67 in intensive care (ICU) and 49 on ventilators in Monmouth County due to COVID-19.

Monmouth County will offer free COVD-19 testing for County residents at locations that allow tests to be administered inside and outside, depending on the weather. The schedule for this week is as follows:

·         Thursday, Jan. 21 in Keansburg from 4 to 7 p.m. at the New Point Comfort Firehouse, 192 Carr Ave.

·         Saturday, Jan. 23 in Long Branch from 9 a.m. to noon at the Bucky James Community Center, 231 Wilbur Ray Ave.

Residents should note the clinic has 200 tests and once those are administered, the clinic will close for the day.

Information about the County’s COVID-19 testing program is available on www.visitmonmouth.com. Residents are encouraged to fill out the testing requisition form ahead of testing in order to expedite the process.

MCHD has administered 8,724 tests, with 655 positive results, as part of the County’s COVID-19 Free Testing Program, which began in July. MCHD is conducting contact tracing for all residents who test positive.

Residents with general questions or concerns about the COVID-19 are able to contact the MCHD phone bank by calling 732-845-2070 from 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m., Monday through Friday.

When the phone bank is not operational, please visit the MCHD website at www.visitmonmouth.com/health for general information related to COVID-19. Residents can also visit the NJ 211 website for additional information at www.nj211.org/coronavirus-covid-19 or by dialing 2-1-1.

For information on the COVID-19 vaccine, please visit the County’s COVID-19 vaccination webpage located at www.visitmonmouth.com/health.

The breakdown of positive COVID-19 cases by municipality is as follows:

19-Jan 18-Jan
Aberdeen: 1120 1108
Allenhurst: 51 50
Allentown: 71 72
Asbury Park: 1006 1003
Atlantic Highlands: 197 192
Avon-by-the-Sea: 125 125
Belmar: 305 299
Bradley Beach: 228 222
Brielle: 343 343
Colts Neck: 611 609
Deal: 202 200
Eatontown: 1035 1030
Englishtown: 140 140
Fair Haven: 253 251
Farmingdale: 84 83
Freehold Borough: 1107 1100
Freehold Township: 2250 2235
Hazlet: 1196 1176
Highlands: 213 210
Holmdel: 979 974
Howell: 3174 3156
Interlaken: 52 52
Keansburg: 708 704
Keyport: 424 418
Lake Como: 97 97
Little Silver: 310 307
Loch Arbour: 14 14
Long Branch: 2761 2731
Manalapan: 2401 2376
Manasquan: 322 311
Marlboro: 2130 2104
Matawan: 704 700
Middletown: 3664 3615
Millstone Township: 541 534
Monmouth Beach: 180 180
Neptune City: 300 296
Neptune Township: 2118 2094
Ocean: 1883 1879
Oceanport: 344 337
Red Bank: 1215 1212
Roosevelt: 34 34
Rumson: 340 336
Sea Bright: 89 89
Sea Girt: 126 125
Shrewsbury Borough: 350 345
Shrewsbury Township: 70 70
Spring Lake: 144 144
Spring Lake Heights: 251 249
Tinton Falls: 1057 1051
Union Beach: 294 286
Upper Freehold: 358 358
Wall: 1656 1644
West Long Branch: 738 735
Unknown: 0 0

If you would like to read more Monmouth County news updates and information regarding the COVID-19 situation, go to www.visitmonmouth.com.

Bills Recognize Challenges of Pandemic

By Vin Gopal, Eric Houghtaling and Joann Downey
This already is turning into a busy year in Trenton, with five of our bills signed into law over the past month and numerous others introduced in State Senate and Assembly committees.

The bills address challenges that veterans, restaurant owners and workers, persons with disabilities, farmers and others face during the public health crisis.

Our supplemental appropriation of $58 million for the NJ Statewide Body Worn Camera Program will provide funding to purchase body cameras and give state, county and municipal law enforcement agencies more flexibility to negotiate better prices. It also requires them to store data from body worn cameras using a tamper-proof digital evidence management system.

Receive COVID updates from Gopal, Houghtaling & Downey

The governor also signed into law our bill dedicating $12 million in corporation business tax (CBT) revenues to fund county planning incentive grants for farmland preservation. The new law will provide grants through the State Agriculture Development Committee of 80 percent of the cost of acquiring development easements on farmland for preservation.

Two of the bills that are now law provide assistance to hard-hit business segments. Restaurants have felt the pain of the pandemic-driven economic downturn more than most and many have closed their doors permanently. Our bill continues the current extension of seasonal liquor licenses to year-round operation through January 14, 2022 so restaurants can recoup some of their losses.

Garden State farmers, too, have suffered significant losses and incurred additional costs over the past 11 months. Our legislation allowing equine-related farm employees to live in facilities with horses as “Right to Farm” permissible activity will provide relief to the state’s 7,200 horse farms, many of which are in Monmouth County. The state’s horse industry has a $1.1 billion dollar economic impact and has created 13,000 jobs.

We also continue to work to make sure New Jersey’s armed forces veterans and their families receive the recognition they deserve. We are proud to have lead the movement that created the New Jersey Global War on Terrorism Medal for veterans who have served in America’s military campaigns against terrorism.

We have introduced legislation to rename and expand the Office of Ombudsman for Individuals with Intellectual or Developmental Disabilities and to create the position of Deputy Ombudsman. The renamed Office of the Ombudsman for Individuals with Disabilities and Their Families would provide better communication from the Department of Human Services to families. Currently, when abuse at group home occurs, families are given only a summary of the investigation. It just isn’t enough information when a loved one has been abused. We also introduced legislation to entitle legal guardians to receive detailed information and actual records of investigations involving abuse, neglect, or exploitation of individuals with developmental disabilities. We introduced this bill after listening to testimony during our meetings with all the families in October.

We have also introduced legislation to create the Advisory Committee on Family Services and Communications in the state Department of Human Services’ Division of Disability Services to support family members and legal guardians of individuals with developmental disabilities. The Advisory Committee would identify inefficiencies, shortcomings, problems with outreach and communications and to work with the division’s leadership to fix them.

As we continue to work in Trenton to make sure the voices of residents and small businesses are heard, our staff remains available to help Legislative District 11 residents. If we can help you, please contact us by email at Help@njld11@njleg.org or call our office at (732) 695-3371.

NJ Rep Keeping Live Theatre Alive!

Welcome to the 5th release in our series, Keeping Live Theatre Alive!, conceived by Dan Lauria and featuring original works created by actors who champion theater. NJ Rep and our four partner theaters Berkshire Playwrights Lab, Durango Playfest, Laguna Playhouse, and Seven Angels Theatre are the recipients of this treasure-trove of heartfelt stories.

Over the next several months we will continue to bring you these stories performed by the authors, who are prominent actors of stage, film and television. What they all have in common is their passion and love for live theater.

André De Shields

is an actor, singer, dancer, director, and choreographer. His Broadway credits include Warp!, Ain’t Misbehavin’, Play On!, The Full Monty, Impressionism, and the title role in The Wiz. De Shields originated the role of Hermes on Broadway in Hadestown, winning the 2019 Tony Award for Best Featured Actor in a Musical and the 2020 Grammy Award for Best Musical Theater Album for his performance. He has also appeared on television, and won a Primetime Emmy Award for Outstanding Individual Achievement for his performance in the 1982 NBC broadcast of Ain’t Misbehavin’.

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Shuler Hensley

Hensley’s stage career began in the early 1990s with roles such as Pitkin in On the Town, Joe in The Most Happy Fella, and Gloriosus in A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Forum, In 1998, he was cast as Jud Fry for London’s National Theatre Production of Oklahoma! then continued to play the role when the show transferred to the West End (1999), and then to Broadway (2002–2003), where he won a Tony, a Drama Desk Award and an Outer Critics Circle Award. Hensley also starred on Broadway in Young Frankenstein as the Monster and was nominated for the Drama Desk Award for Outstanding Featured Actor in a Musical and the Outer Critics Circle Award for Outstanding Featured Actor in a Musical. In 2011 he portrayed American Yiddish theatre great Boris Thomashefsky in The Thomashefskys: Music and Memories of a Life in the Yiddish Theater that later aired on the PBS series Great Performances.

 

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John Larroquette
is best known for his starring roles in the NBC military drama series Baa Baa Black Sheep (1976–1978), the NBC sitcom Night Court (1984–1992) (for which he received four consecutive Primetime Emmy Awards for Outstanding Supporting Actor in a Comedy Series), the NBC sitcom The John Larroquette Show (1993–1996), the ABC legal comedy-drama series Boston Legal (2007–2008), and the TNT fantasy adventure series The Librarians (2014–2018). He made his film debut by providing the opening narration of the horror film The Texas Chain Saw Massacre (1974), following which he appeared in films such as Stripes (1981), Meatballs Part II (1984), Richie Rich (1994), and the Hallmark Channel mystery television film series McBride (2005–2008).

Carolyn McCormack
In film, Carolyn’s breakthrough role was in Enemy Mine with Dennis Quaid. Other credits include Woody Allen’s Whatever Works, You Know My Name with Sam Elliott, and A Simple Twist of Fate with Steve Martin. On TV she played district attorney Rita Fiore in Spenser: For Hire and appeared as the holodeck simulation Minuet in “11001001″, a first-season episode of Star Trek: The Next Generation, and later as Minuet Riker in a fantasy-alternate universe during the fourth-season episode “Future Imperfect”. A role she would become known for is that of Dr. Elizabeth Olivet on NBC’s Law & Order. She has also been a guest star on Madam Secretary, Elementary, Blue Bloods, Judging Amy, The Practice, Body of Proof, Cold Case, Homicide: Life on the Street, and LA Law. Stage credits include Off-Broadway and regional productions: Eve-olution, Dinner with Friends, Oedipus, Ancestral Voices, The Donahue Sisters, Family Furniture,Vanya, Sonya, Masha and Spike, What I Did Last Summer, and Will Eno’s The Open House (Lucille Lortel nomination, Drama Desk Award).

Barbara Niven

is an actor, writer and producer, best known for her performances in Hallmark Hall of Fame and Lifetime movies (including Stranger in My Bed, The Perfect Neighbor, Double Cross, Murder in My House, The Rival, A Valentine Carol, Black Widow,  Heat Wave, My Mother’s Secret, Home Invasion, The Wife He Met Online, Fame’s Promise, Wedding Daze, and Back to You and Me). TV credits include Pensacola: Wings of Gold, Cedar Cove, and Chesapeake Shores with Treat Williams and Diane Ladd. She is also known for her roles on the soap operas The Bold and the Beautiful and One Life to Live as well as guest roles in ER, Cold Case, Las Vegas, NCIS, Charmed, Eli Stone, and Parks and Recreation.  On HBO she played Marilyn Monroe in the The Rat Pack and has appeared in films such as Under Lock and Key, Forest Warrior, Foxfire, Breast Men, Chasing Ghosts, Redline, Summer’s Blood, and A Perfect Ending. She is also a motivational speaker, media trainer, and animal rights activist and spokesperson, as a National Ambassador for American Humane.

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Tony Todd
is an actor, film producer, and voice actor, best known for portraying Sergeant Warren in Platoon (1986), Kurn in Star Trek: The Next Generation (1990–1991) and Star Trek: Deep Space Nine (1996), Ben in Night of the Living Dead (1990), the titular character in the Candyman horror franchise (1992–2021), William Bludworth in the Final Destination franchise (2000–2011), Dan in The Man from Earth (2007), and as the voice of The Fallen in Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen (2009).

Monmouth County has 335 additional positive cases of COVID-19

Monmouth County Commissioner Director Thomas A. Arnone and County Commissioner Deputy Director Susan M. Kiley have announced that today, Jan. 18, there are 335 new positive cases of COVID-19 in Monmouth County. There are no new deaths being reported today related to COVID-19 in Monmouth County.

The County Commissioners and the Monmouth County Health Department (MCHD) are strongly urging residents to do their part to slow the spread by practicing social distancing, wearing a face covering when social distancing is not possible, not gathering in large crowds, washing their hands and staying home when sick.

Information about the County’s COVID-19 testing program is available on www.visitmonmouth.com. Residents are encouraged to fill out the testing requisition form ahead of testing in order to expedite the process.

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Residents with general questions or concerns about COVID-19 are able to contact the MCHD phone bank by calling 732-845-2070 from 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m., Monday through Friday.

When the phone bank is not operational, please visit the MCHD website at www.visitmonmouth.com/health for general information related to COVID-19. Residents can also visit the NJ 211 website for additional information at www.nj211.org/coronavirus-covid-19 or by dialing 2-1-1.

For information on the COVID-19 vaccine, please visit the County’s COVID-19 vaccination webpage located at www.visitmonmouth.com/health.

The breakdown of positive COVID-19 cases by municipality is as follows:

18-Jan 17-Jan
Aberdeen: 1108 1088
Allenhurst: 50 50
Allentown: 72 71
Asbury Park: 1003 990
Atlantic Highlands: 192 190
Avon-by-the-Sea: 125 124
Belmar: 299 292
Bradley Beach: 222 221
Brielle: 343 340
Colts Neck: 609 599
Deal: 200 196
Eatontown: 1030 1020
Englishtown: 140 139
Fair Haven: 251 251
Farmingdale: 83 82
Freehold Borough: 1100 1099
Freehold Township: 2235 2205
Hazlet: 1176 1169
Highlands: 210 208
Holmdel: 974 962
Howell: 3156 3118
Interlaken: 52 52
Keansburg: 704 694
Keyport: 418 408
Lake Como: 97 97
Little Silver: 307 304
Loch Arbour: 14 14
Long Branch: 2731 2715
Manalapan: 2376 2357
Manasquan: 311 309
Marlboro: 2104 2072
Matawan: 700 693
Middletown: 3615 3575
Millstone Township: 534 526
Monmouth Beach: 180 179
Neptune City: 296 293
Neptune Township: 2094 2066
Ocean: 1879 1866
Oceanport: 337 334
Red Bank: 1212 1203
Roosevelt: 34 34
Rumson: 336 335
Sea Bright: 89 88
Sea Girt: 125 124
Shrewsbury Borough: 345 343
Shrewsbury Township: 70 70
Spring Lake: 144 144
Spring Lake Heights: 249 248
Tinton Falls: 1051 1037
Union Beach: 286 285
Upper Freehold: 358 353
Wall: 1644 1631
West Long Branch: 735 732
Unknown: 0 0

If you would like to read more Monmouth County news updates and information regarding the COVID-19 situation, go to www.visitmonmouth.com.

LB Animal Control making sure stray animals cleared from Seaview Towers

By Patty Booth O’Neill
Long Branch Animal Control has a difficult job ahead of them before Seaview Towers on Ocean Blvd. is demolished, as per an order Mayor John Pallone made public last Thursday.

Over the years the decaying buildings have become home to numerous stray cats.

Long Branch Health Department Director Sidney Johnson feels that animal control agent Debbie Nagel will put all her effort into removing animals from the site. “About two years ago Long Branch Animal Control and the SPCA helped the small cat colony at Seaview Towers,” Johnson said. “If Debbie Nagel can help again, that’s what the Mayor and Council and the Animal Welfare Committee would want her to try and do.”

This possum caught at the Sea View Towers was released in Jackson Woods.

The two senior citizen apartment buildings have been standing vacant for over 15 years, plenty of time for animals to take up residency.

Nagel has been working night and day setting and checking traps to capture animals that may have made the abandoned buildings their home. Traps have been set around the site baited with chicken meat and water to lure feral cats. “So far we’ve caught a possum and a racoon,” Nagel said. “When we catch wild animals they are set free in Jackson Woods.”

Local resident Pam Jackson, a member of

Colony Caretakers, a group that focuses on the trap, neuter and return of feral cats has been tending to the strays at Seaview Towers for years. Trapped cats are to be taken to Colony Caretakers, and the ones Pam doesn’t recognize as “her cats” will be taken to the SPCA.

Click here to learn more about Colony Caretakers

Nagel said that they work hard to make sure the traps are emptied and reset. “I go by Seaview to empty traps in the morning, afternoon and twice in the evening,” she said. “Then they are set again for another round.”

The roof on the south tower has been caved in for the past few years. The State and City have deemed the property unsafe and Long Branch came out on January 14 stating that either the owner, Cronheim Co., raze the building within 24 hours,

Cute, but do not approach. This raccoon was also taken to Jackson Woods.

or Long Branch will do the demolition themselves. Reportedly Cronheim Co. is making an appeal to the Monmouth County Construction Board of Appeals.

Mayor Pallone stated that the demolition project would cost taxpayers nothing and the Cronheim Co. will have liens put against them.

Before the time arrives for demolition, Nagel is making sure no animals are left inside. “Our major concern is making sure we get all animals out of the building before they are demolished,” Nagel said. “Our major concern is the animals’ safety.”