PNM, FBI team up to fight phone scams
November 19, 2018 10:12 AM
ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. - PNM is teaming up with the FBI to battle phone scammers who are targeting New Mexicans this holiday season.
Officials with PNM say there have been nearly 550 reports of scams from PNM customers since October 26. They say the thieves are using VoIP telecommunication phone lines in an attempt to scam customers out of their money, which is a federal crime.
Voice over Internet Protocol, or VoIP, is a technology that allows users to make voice calls using a broadband internet connection instead of a regular phone line.
“Unfortunately, scammers continue to develop new and sophisticated ways to steal money from customers who work hard for their money,” said Shannon Jackson, PNM spokesperson. “But there are things customers should keep in mind that can help them to recognize these scams and to protect themselves from falling victim to it.”
The FBI is asking New Mexico customers to report the details of scam calls here so that the agency can track and analyze every report. The crimes can also be reported to PNM by calling 888-DIAL-PNM.
PNM says this is how the scammers are targeting New Mexicans:
- They use a false PNM caller ID name to get customers to answer their phones.
- They leave false call-back numbers that when called, play a similar "hold" music or pre-recorded messages as PNM.
- They target customers on Fridays or the day before a holiday threatening to stop service over the weekend or the holiday unless they pay a certain amount within a small window of time, usually with a pre-paid gift card.
- They ask customers to buy pre-paid gift cards and have them read the codes over the phone.
- They call customers saying that due to system upgrades or construction in the area, their power will be turned off soon and as customers to log off all computers and flip their breakers off until the work is complete. They do not immediately ask for payment, but soon thereafter, the scammer tells the customer they need to pay up to have their power turned back on and customers often panic.
Anyone who questions whether a call is legitimate should do the following:
- Check your bill. If you have not received a bold disconnect notice on page 1, it's a scam.
- Customers can call the number on their bill to find the true status of their account.
- PNM does sometimes make calls to customers who are past due, but scammers have no way of knowing who those customers are.
- If you are asked to purchase pre-paid gift cards or pay through PayPal, it is a scam.
If customers feel their safety may be at risk, immediately call 911.
Updated: November 19, 2018 10:12 AM
Created: November 19, 2018 09:30 AM
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