ALBUQUERQUE ― On Day 6 of National Consumer Protection Week, Attorney General Balderas issued a Scam Alert for the top scams hitting New Mexico consumers.
“During Consumer Protection Week, I’m urging New Mexicans to educate themselves about the most common scams hitting New Mexico households and how to spot them before it’s too late,” Balderas said. “Never, ever give out your personal or financial information to someone who calls or emails you.”
Top scams hitting New Mexico households
Offers to help “expedite” consumer complaints with Office of the Attorney General. Recently, the Office of the Attorney General has learned of individuals attempting to charge money to help consumers “rush or expedite” their complaint with the Office of the Attorney General. The Office of the Attorney General’s Consumer and Family Advocacy Services Division handles all consumer complaints and there is never a fee. If you file a complaint with the Office of the Attorney General, someone will be in touch with you within 72 hours. Again, there is no fee for our help and in many cases your complaint can be resolved very quickly. Do not give money to anyone claiming to expedite a complaint you filed with our office, it’s a scam.
Prize Scams: This scam often states that you’ve won a prize. The catch is that they need you to pay a fee to collect your prize. Be careful, sometimes this fee is called shipping and handling, processing or something similar. If you have to pay to claim a prize, it’s likely a scam.
Impersonating the IRS or other government entity. Be wary of anyone who calls you claiming to be with a government agency asking you for personal information or threatening you with a lawsuit or jail time. This scam can take many forms, so it is important to know that a government agency will not call you and ask for personal information over the phone. They also will not call you and demand immediate payment. Any communications from a government entity regarding a debt you may owe will first be sent in writing.
Emails from known or unknown people asking for help. This scam takes two different forms. In one form, the email may claim to be a family member or friend who has traveled to another county and is stranded looking for help. In these cases, reach out to the family or friends (using a phone number or different email address for them) before sending money. Confirm whether or not that person is really traveling and if so, whether they are really in need of help. If a stranger contacts you directly for help, it is likely a scam. Never send money to someone you don’t know until you can confirm their identity.
Spot a scam, protect yourself from fraud
If it sounds too good to be true, it probably isn’t. Do your research to make sure an offer is legit.
Never give out your personal information in response to a phone solicitation– any company that you already do business with will have the information they need. If someone calls you claiming to be one of your banks or credit card companies, but then asks for your information, they are probably a scammer trying to impersonate the company. Hang up and call your bank or credit card at the number listed on the back of your card or on their website.
Don’t click on links contained in emails unless you trust the source and are sure the person who sent it to you meant to send it. Sometimes you or a loved one’s email address could be hijacked into sending phishing scams. Don’t click on links in emails sent from an unknown sender.
When applying for credit or a loan, make sure to fill the forms out yourself. If you have someone do it for you, double check all the information before it is submitted to make sure it’s all accurate.
If someone asks you to pay for a transaction by purchasing gift cards or prepaid debit cards, it’s a scam. Don’t be fooled.
If someone asks you to send payment for a product or service before you receive that product or service, be very skeptical– know who you are dealing with by doing your research.
It’s always a good idea to keep an eye on your credit report to make sure no one is using your name or social security number.