• June 21st, 2024
  • Friday, 08:51:45 PM

Attorney General Balderas Warns New Mexicans to Beware of Scams 

Attorney General Hector Balderas recently issued a consumer safety advisory to New Mexican consumers about the increased proliferation of COVID-19 vaccine related scams, as vaccine rollout begins. Pharmaceutical companies and law enforcement entities across the globe are warning of organized criminal elements that are taking advantage of the vaccine rollout. These scammers are defrauding and enticing people into purchasing fake COVID-19 vaccines. In response to these scams, Attorney General Balderas warns New Mexican families to be vigilant in seeking or receiving the COVID-19 vaccine.

Photo/Foto: Office of AG Balderas
Attorney General Hector Balderas

“We will not tolerate fraud and scams in the delivery of this critical vaccine,” said Attorney General Balderas. “Unfortunately, during this pandemic we have seen the rise of individuals who are looking to take advantage of the fear and vulnerability of our families in these uncertain times; but New Mexicans should remain confident in the advice of healthcare professionals and the law enforcement community, who are working diligently to make sure we all stay safe.”

The Office of the Attorney General, working in partnership with law enforcement entities across the country, warns of potential criminal activity in relation to the falsification, theft and illegal advertising of COVID-19 and flu vaccines, with the pandemic having already triggered unprecedented opportunistic and predatory criminal behavior. This includes crimes where individuals have been advertising, selling, and administering fake vaccines.

As a number of COVID-19 vaccines come closer to approval and global distribution, ensuring the safety of the supply chain and identifying illicit websites selling fake products will be essential. Criminal networks will also be targeting unsuspecting members of the public via fake websites and false cures, which could pose a significant risk to their health, even their lives. According to INTERPOL’s Cybercrime Unit, it has identified 3,000 websites associated with online pharmacies suspected of selling illicit medicines and medical devices, and around 1,700 of those websites contained cyber threats, especially phishing and spamming malware.

“We will not tolerate fraud and scams in the delivery of this critical vaccine.”
Hector Balderas, NM Attorney General

To avoid falling victim to scams, it is important to be vigilant, be skeptical, and be safe, as offers which appear too good to be true usually are. Always check with health authorities for the latest health advice in relation to COVID-19. New Mexicans should report anything suspicious they see related to the COVID-19 vaccine from a source other than a healthcare professional to their local law enforcement officials; the Office of the Attorney General at 1-844-255-9210 or nmag.gov; or the New Mexico Department of Health at 1-855-600-3453.

Social Security Scams

AG Balderas also issued a consumer advisory warning to New Mexico consumers about a widespread telephone scam involving the Social Security Administration and the New Mexico Office of the Attorney General. Consumers are reporting that the New Mexico Attorney General’s Office is appearing on their caller ID, when they are receiving these scam calls. These imposters may state that there is a problem with your Social Security number or that your social security number has been suspended. They may ask you to pay a fine or fee with cash, retail gift cards, prepaid debit cards, or wire transfers.

If you received a call like this, please call 1-844-255-9210 or visit www.nmag.gov to file a complaint.

In addition, the Office of the Attorney General offers the following advisory to deal with these scammers:

DO NOT TRUST CALLER ID: Scam calls may show up on caller ID as the Social Security Administration or the Attorney General’s Office and look like the agency’s real number.

Don’t give the caller your Social Security number or other personal information: If you have already done so, please visit IdentityTheft.gov/SSA to find out what steps you can take to protect your credit and your identity.

Check with the real Social Security Administration:The SSA will not contact you out of the blue. You may contact them directly at 1-800-772-1213 to find out if SSA is really trying to reach you and why.

Talk about it: People recognize the IRS scam, but many are getting caught off guard by these new imposters. You can help by telling people that the SSA scam is a new version of the IRS scam.