Published: 4:43 pm, Fri. Mar. 10th, 2017Updated: 4:41 pm
On Day Six of National Consumer Protection Week, Attorney General Hector Balderas has 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,” said Balderas. “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 the Office of the Attorney General (OAG): Recently, the OAG has learned of individuals attempting to charge money to help consumers “rush or expedite” their complaint with the OAG. The OAG’s Consumer and Family Advocacy Services Division handles all consumer complaints, and there is never a fee. If you file a complaint with the OAG, 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.
If you think you have been a victim of a scam or fraud, call the OAG toll-free at 1-844-255-9210 or visit www.nmag.gov/consumer-and-family- advocacy-services.aspx.