Four Investigates Warning: Scammers Making the most of New Mexico’s most weak

The scammer told Gonzales that she would receive her award after paying a handling fee.

She was told to buy thousands of dollars in gift cards, take a picture of the front and back of the card, and then send him the photos via text message or email. At one point, Gonzales was instructed to send a box of cash to an address registered in a small house in Binghamton, New York.

To make matters worse, Gonzales never had the money she gave away, so she drove all over Albuquerque, borrowing money from high-yield payday lenders, and taking cash advances on her credit cards.

“It started with, ‘if you send a little more money, your price will be higher’ and I thought to myself, ‘I really owe the money and I really need the money’.”

The scammer hunted Gonzales when she was most vulnerable – something the FBI says is seen all too often.

“We warn people, heed the golden rule, if she looks too good to be true, she probably is,” said Frank Fisher, an FBI spokesman.

Fisher reports that more than 4,200 new Mexicans were defrauded of $ 31 million in the last year alone.

“This is one more reason to reach out to our elderly relatives and friends, and whether they want to hear the advice or not, we need to warn them about these online scams,” said Fisher.

The Gonzales case is under investigation by the FBI and the New Mexico Attorney General. But finding the bad actors and getting Gonzales’s money back is incredibly difficult.

New Mexico attorney general Hector Balderas said Congress had failed to adequately regulate online commerce, leaving scammers plenty of leeway to exploit unsuspecting consumers.

“When Congress envisioned the Internet, the information superhighway, it never implemented the rules, regulations and enforcement that people get in other markets,” said Balderas. “Driving licenses and hairdressing salons are more regulated and protected than the information superhighway. Located out of the country or out of state, these scammers attack households on a daily basis. The best approach is prevention and intervention. “

Balderas encourages people to look out for the following tactics:

  • Anyone trying to get you to pay with gift cards.
  • Notice of lottery winnings or competitions in which you have never participated.
  • Any online request for personal or financial information.
  • The government is trying to contact you online about arrest warrants, fines, or court orders.

resources

If you believe you may have been a victim of fraud, report it to the New Mexico Attorney General at 1-844-255-9210. Your contact person is the advocacy and intervention department. You can also submit your complaint electronically at www.nmag.gov.

The New Mexico Attorney General also offers free education for seniors to teach them how to avoid becoming victims of fraud.

The FBI is calling on those affected to report the problem at www.ic3.gov, the Internet Crime Complaint Center.

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