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CCM Students Develop Public Service Announcements for Division of Consumer Affairs

Covering Consumer Related Issues from Fraudulent Charities to Internet Fraud
Unfortunately, in life there are always those who are looking to swindle others out of their hard-earned cash. There are ways, however, to protect against becoming a victim of fraud. One of the best is to know what sort of scams exists and the actions you can take. When the New Jersey Division of Consumer Affairs decided it wanted to develop a set of public service announcements (PSAs) covering fraudulent activities, it turned to County College of Morris and the students in the college’s TV Production II class.

A total of 15 students from the Spring 2011 class, led by Professor Ray Kalas, wrote and produced nine video clips to help keep New Jersey consumers aware of the range of scams conducted by unscrupulous individuals and the steps they can take to protect themselves. The videos cover everything from Internet fraud and charity scams, to unlicensed professionals and the state’s Lemon Law.

“The Division of Consumer Affairs protects consumers through swift, tough enforcement in the marketplace and by empowering New Jerseyans with knowledge and awareness,” said Thomas R. Calcagni, acting director of the State Division of Consumer Affairs. “From the high school Consumer Bowl, to our FedUp presentations for senior citizens, to our series of free speaking engagements, we are working as aggressively and creatively as we can to make sure New Jersey’s consumers know their rights and recognize how to prevent fraud.”

The students who worked on the PSAs are: Jack K. Cronin, of Rockaway; Michaela Diprete, of West Milford; Jeffrey Dunn, of Succasunna; Vincent T. Infinito, of Long Valley; Jordan L. Kalmowitz, of Bedminster; Nicholas M. Kral, of Randolph; Shannon M. McArdle, of South Orange; Haley E. O'Sullivan, of Ledgewood; Megan R. Osmundsen, of Pompton Plains; Joseph Scocca, of Budd Lake; Blaise B. Scott-Miller, of Newfoundland; Casey L. Sherwood, of Wharton; Cheyenne L. Terrill, of Boonton; Dylan T. Whitman, of Caldwell; and Peter R. Zollo, of Denville. CCM graduate, Emily Mazzoni ‘08, of Boonton, also participated as an actress in the PSA about New Jersey’s Lemon Law.

“Our students are among New Jersey’s most highly motivated, creative, and technically competent, and they were very excited by the opportunity to take on projects that will help educate consumers about matters that directly affect their wallets and bank accounts,” said Dr. Edward J. Yaw, president of CCM. “We are extremely proud to partner with the state Division of Consumer Affairs on a project that helps students put their skills to practical use and learn from the challenges along the way.”

“The partnership between our TV Production II class and the state Division of Consumer Affairs has been an extremely rewarding challenge, with positive results for everyone involved,” said Professor Kalas. “The County College of Morris students benefit from stretching their skills to meet the demands of an important state agency. The Division of Consumer Affairs benefits from developing these products at no cost to taxpayers. And New Jersey’s consumers benefit from receiving the message about preventing fraud and protecting themselves.”

In appreciation of the great work produced by the students, officials from the Division of Consumer Affairs arranged for a special screening of the PSAs at CCM on June 8 to honor their efforts and present them with certificates of appreciation.

The nine videos produced by the students consist of “Bait and Switch,” “Charity,” “Grandparent Scam,” “Phishing,” “Professional,” “Sweepstakes” “Lemon,” and two on “Internet Fraud.” They can be viewed on the Division of Consumer Affairs website at http://www.njconsumeraffairs.gov/mccpsa/.

The videos were produced and edited in the CCM Media Center. The college has launched a $1.8 million Visioning the Future capital campaign to upgrade the Media Center, which will be the first major renovation to the facility since the 1990s. The center provides multimedia support for both classes at the college and other college programs, along with being a resource for the community at large.

“With the professional environment transitioning from an analog environment into digital and high-definition, it’s imperative that our students be trained on the latest technology,” said Dr. Yaw. “In addition, a new studio with the most-advanced technology will make our Media Center more attractive for use by area corporations and the community.”